An employment contract is one of the most important documents between an employer and their employee. An employment contract clearly outlines everything an employee needs to know about their role, duties, benefits, compensation and general terms and conditions, in order to meet the expectations of you, the employer.
When do they need to be drawn up? Try to ensure that your new employee signs the contract prior to starting at your business, although you are legally bound to produce a written employment contract within the first two months of their start date.
Are they up-to-date? Crucially, contracts must be legally compliant. Failure to be aware of employment law changes could seriously cost your business. If you want to avoid being caught out, you need to make sure you’re providing up-to-date, accurate contracts.
Are they bespoke to your business? Every business is different (and every employee, for that matter), so contracts will need to be tailored to give you and your employees maximum protection. There are many different types of contract eg full/part time, zero hours, permanent, fixed term, contractor agreement or it may be you wish to include restrictive covenants. Whichever is appropriate it is important that you have the right one in place.
Do they need to be rewritten? If your business has expanded or roles have changed, it is a good to review your contracts. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be rewritten from scratch, but they may need amending to ensure they continue to meet your business needs and legally comply.
You may find that your ever-growing business’ working practices have changed; you could require more permanent staff or more flexibility (eg. zero hours contracts where you are not obliged to provide any minimum working hours and the worker isn’t obliged to accept any offered work). It could be that new senior employees need tighter contracts or official reward incentive schemes included within the contract.
When is best to review? Whenever you’re looking to make changes and negotiate new terms, you may want to consider reviewing an employment contract.
A new client had been using freelancers whilst growing her business
We discussed the options of different contracts and due to the nature of her business she wished to continue using freelancers but worried about protecting her business and its reputation.
By drawing up a bespoke contractors agreement she was able to ensure her contractors would be protected, provide the service required as well as protecting her own business interests.