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Why need legal contracts while being hired

16th July 2012
By Clark_Taylor in Law
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For any line of work; first and foremost thing that needs to be addressed, after the acquisition of employment is, to bargain the terms for employment contract. Employer holds the right to acquire the best possible human resource that is available to him. Employee on other hand holds the right to be compensated in dignified manner for his services.

For most people, their job is a significant part of their life – therefore before signing pack of employment contracts, you should ensure you are fully aware of what is and isn't included, and how this could impart impact on you. Laws of England and Wales states that employers must give new employee a written statement of ‘particulars of employment' no later than two months from the beginning of employment. It could be an offer letter or a series of letter which does not require formal employment contract. On joining, a comprehensive employment contract is provided to employee for review.

What should be the employers concern in an employee contract?

It is extremely important to have an effective employment documents in place; both to be legally compliant and to protect your organization. Well drafted employment contracts should deal with issues including:

  • Will the employee will work additional hours if required.

  • Work flexibility and skill adequacy for the diverse job.

  • Appropriateness of employee references.

  • Employee reluctance to opt maximum 48 hour working week.

  • Whether bonuses should be discretionary or contractual.

  • Fines and cut back mechanism.

  • Holiday and bank holidays (especially for part-timers), when holiday can be taken and whether it can be carried over or not.

  • Whether or not any sick pay over and above SSP is contractual or discretionary.

  • The right to require the employee to be seen by a doctor.

  • When time off for dental and other appointments should be taken.

  • Tardiness and upkeep issues.

  • Protection of Confidentiality and Intellectual Property.

  • Notice periods.

  • Whether you reserve the right to give a payment in lieu of notice on termination, and/or put staff on 'garden leave'.

  • Dealing with Misconduct and Grievances

  • Effective restrictions preventing your staff from poaching clients or colleagues after they leave.

How an employee pack of legal contracts help reduce ambiguities

A comprehensive mix of different legal documents helps in reducing ambiguities in roles and duties. A set of non-contractual policies and procedures dealing with matters such as stated below will also help in clarifying roles and responsibilities pertaining to work issues.

  • Disciplinary.

  • Email and IT.

  • Equal Opportunities.

  • Fire.

  • Flexible Working.

  • Grievance.

  • Health and Safety.

  • Maternity.

  • Parental Leave.

  • Performance.

  • Personal Data.

  • Sickness Absence.

  • Smoking etc.

  • Time Off For Dependents.

  • Vehicle Use.

What kinds of contracts are included in an employee’s contract pack?
A comprehensive employee pack depends on the type of business you are hired for.. Following are few contracts that are included in these employee contract packs.

  • Statement of particulars of employment.

  • Employment contract: standard.

  • Employment contract: senior staff.

  • Employment contract: casual worker.

  • Letters to vary contracts of employment.

  • Confirmation of employment post probation period: letter to employee.

  • Company cars policy.

  • Equal Opportunities and non-harassment policy.

  • Letter to employee refusing request for flexible work hours.

  • Equality in the workplace.

  • Guidance on amending contracts of employment.

What kinds of details are included in these legal contracts?

According to section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 the following should go in those written particulars:

    • Names of the employer and employee

    • Date of joining and previous employer and employment record.

    • Compensation and remuneration mechanisms.

    • Working hours

    • Entitlement to holidays, including public holidays, and holiday pay.

    • Entitlement to sick pay

    • Entitlement to pension if applicable. (Remember all employers with five or more staff should be offering staff a stake holder pension scheme),

    • Length of notice which the employee is obliged to give and entitled to receive to terminate his contract of employment.

    • Title of the job and work description.

    • Timeline whether it is contractual, fixed or probationer job

    • Place of job. Employer address, address of employee in case he is a freelancer.

    • Collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of the employment

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