Time to spring clean your contracts and handbooks?

When advising our clients about various disciplinary and performance issues, one of our first queries is likely to be about the employee’s terms of employment and the business’ policies and procedures.

The contract of employment and staff handbook are there to provide a framework for both employee and employer but too frequently we find that there are no written terms at all. This can cause great difficulty when there is a problem (not to mention giving the employee an additional claim for 2 – 4 weeks’ pay to add to their armoury).

Once the documents are in place, it’s not safe to leave it there. Employment law is constantly changing and the documents you use to govern your relationship with your employees need to keep pace. If the documents are out of date, you might not be complying with your legal requirements, exposing your business to unnecessary risk.

When did you last review your employees’ contracts and the staff handbook? How many of the following example clauses are still lurking somewhere within them?

  • “If you wish to join the pension scheme, you need to opt in.”
  • “The Company’s normal retirement age is 65.”
  • “You are not permitted to carry over holiday to the next holiday year under any circumstances.”
  • “New fathers are entitled to additional paternity leave.”
  • “You are not allowed to work for other companies whilst employed under this zero hours contract.”
  • “Holiday pay will be calculated according to your basic pay only.”

More importantly, do you know what is wrong with each of these provisions and what the implications are?

If you don’t have contractual and policy documents in place, or if you need to update what you already have, contact any one of our Employment team. We’ve seen contracts and handbooks in all shapes and sizes and can advise on what might work best for you and your business.

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