Regular readers of my posts will now I am obsessive about the need for up to date employment contracts.

I was recently approached by a client who had failed to pass on the contract I had prepared to his employee. The employer, because he had just put the prepared contract in the drawer and not asked the employee to sign it, was unaware that the employee was entitled to paid holiday and did have the right to have his terms and conditions explained to him.

The employee was terminated with less than 2 years’ service due to poor performance. The employer had thought this was a no risk dismissal. However, as he had not used the contract he was somewhat surprised when the employee brought a claim for unpaid wages, untaken holiday and failure to provide written terms and conditions. The claim which would have been accepted at an employment tribunal was for more than £6000. All of which including time, stress, reputational damage and costs (including my fee!) could have been avoided had the contract been signed.

It is vital for your wellbeing and to comply with the law to ensure your staff have up to date contracts and that they are signed . Contracts should be reviewed at least every 3 years to as legislation changes continually.

If your staff do not have a contract or if you just looking to review your documentation set out below are minimum legal conditions that must be included in a contract

  • the employer’s name.
  • the employee’s or worker’s name, job title or a description of work and start date.
  • how much and how often an employee or worker will get paid.
  • hours and days of work and if and how they may vary (also if employees or workers will have to work Sundaysnights or overtime)
  • holiday entitlement (and if that includes public holidays)
  • where an employee or worker will be working and whether they might have to work from other locations or visit customers’ or suppliers’ premises
  • the employer’s address
  • how long a job is expected to last (and what the end date is if it’s a fixed-term contract)
  • how long any probation period is and what its conditions are.
  • any other benefits (for example, childcare vouchers)
  • obligatory training, whether or not this is paid for by the employer.
  • sick pay and procedures
  • other paid leave (for example, maternity leave and paternity leave)
  • notice periods

I would also recommend that you include a clauses relating to

  • confidentiality
  • social media
  • disciplinary
  • grievance