A great time to review employment contracts

Posted 6th January 2015

Written by Tiggy Clifford

With a fresh start in 2015, now is a great time for employers to be reviewing the employment contracts for employees and directors.

Employers are legally required to have a written contract in place for all staff within 2 months of them starting, but these can easily be missed or aren’t up to date. This means that many employers can be at risk of legal claims but also that the business is not protected.

Written contracts need to cover certain points as a matter of law. This includes job title, pay rates and intervals, pay dates, holiday and pension arrangements, place of work and notice periods.

We would always advise employers to think about additional clauses which can provide essential protection to your business. These could include:

  • Deductions from wages – it´s useful to be able to deduct money from an employees wages (e.g. loans, overpayments, non return of company property) but you must have an agreement in writing in place first;
  • Flexibility – wording in the contract can allow you to require employees to carry out alternative duties or work from different locations;
  • Holiday pay and sick pay – your contract can make clear that employees must meet certain requirements to be able to take company sick pay or holiday pay;
  • Confidentiality – your company´s business information is a key asset, but should have a written agreement in place to protect what an employee does with that information after they have left – without it, they could use that information to help your competitors or to set up in competition against you;
  • Directorships – it´s a good idea to have extra clauses in contracts for senior managers and directors dealing with the additional requirements of those roles;
  • Pay in lieu of notice and/or garden leave – where an employee is leaving, these clauses are extremely useful to minimise disruption, both for your business and your important clients; and
  • Restrictive covenants – it is perfectly possible to include reasonable restrictions about what your employees do after they finish working for you (for example, not to contact your clients and suppliers and not to use your business secrets), but only if you’ve got the right wording in a written agreement.

If your employment contracts are in need of a New Year makeover, the team at Newtons would be delighted to help. We won’t just provide you with a standard template, but we’ll meet with you to talk about what will work best for your business and for the types of employees you have and prepare something tailored just to your requirements.

We’re upfront about our pricing and will agree a fixed fee for your employment contract review before we start any work.

Please call Tiggy Clifford on 01904 409073 or email tiggy@newtons.co.uk.