What do Employment Contracts contain?

from Silk Helix
Photograph of Jenefer Livings, Founder of Silk Helix Ltd
25 January 2022
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Introduction

There is a list of information you must provide to employees by the end of their first day, known as statement of particulars - however, this whilst being key terms of employment isn’t the full employment contract. This is a minimum legal requirement to provide information to a worker, you would be wise to create a comprehensive written contract covering all the rights and responsibilities of both employer and employee.

The information that must be provided to employees is defined by the Employment Rights Act 1996 as a Statement of Particulars. It should be noted this list was updated in an amendment to the Act in April 2020 and is as follows:

  • The business name and address.
  • Employee’s name.
  • Job title or a description of work.
  • Start date.
  • A statement covering whether any previous job counts towards the period of continuous employment.
  • All remuneration (not just pay) both in cash and kind, including how much and how often the employee will be paid.
  • Duration and conditions of any probationary period.
  • Hours of work (and if work is required Sunday’s or nights) - must be specific about days and times.
  • Overtime requirements.
  • Where the employee is working.
  • If the employee is working in different places, where these will be and what the employer’s address is.
  • Holiday entitlement.
  • Details of other types of paid leave - e.g. maternity and paternity leave.
  • Training provided by the employer, required by the employer or required by the employer which they will not bear the cost of.
  • How long the job is expected to last if it is temporary or the end date for a fixed term contract.
  • Notice periods.
  • Collective agreements.
  • Pensions.
  • Who to report a grievance too.
  • How to complain about the way a grievance is handled.
  • How to complain about a disciplinary or dismissal decision.

The following information can be available elsewhere but the written statement must tell the employee where the information can be found:

  • Sick pay and procedures.
  • Disciplinary and dismissal procedures.
  • Grievance procedure.

There are additional requirements if an employee is required to work abroad for longer than one month.

Making the Contract Work for Your Business

A comprehensive contract would cover additional areas such as:

  • Deductions from wages.
  • Short time working and lay-off.
  • Flexibility clauses.
  • Post employment restrictions.
  • Drug and alcohol testing (only when appropriate).
  • Right to search.

This is neither an exhaustive list or necessarily all relevant to your business. The key to employment contracts is they cover exactly what you need, thinking not just about the everyday but those occasional days and even the future. The issues we come across with employment contracts can vary from industry to industry and business to business. We’ve recently had increasing issues with start times, which might sound simple enough, but when an employee has to travel to site then the start time becomes ambiguous. Does start time mean time arriving on-site, time leaving home or time leaving the yard? Does the journey length impact the meaning? These are the sort of questions that should be asked and answered when drafting an employment contract.

Another challenge we’ve had is around hours of work in nursery settings. Shift patterns are often written into contracts around when workers are on shift in the nursery room with children. When a team meeting or training is put into the evening this causes problems with people refusing to attend. The contract should be worded to consider these occasions and appropriately written in, carefully considering whether they are required or voluntary and whether guaranteed or maybe.

At Silk Helix we have the experience to consider all the pitfalls for you and write contracts that fit your business.

Policies and Employee Handbook

It’s not just about the contract of employment. In addition you should have policies or an Employee Handbook covering your culture and expectations, requirements such as dress code, IT use, social media and non-compete.

It is useful to pull all your Policies together into one place such as an Employee Handbook or Company wiki and for these to be non-contractual. This enables you to have a set of rules and expectations that are not fundamental to the employment contract and that can be changed as the company changes.

When Should you Issue a Contract of Employment?

As a minimum the Statement of Particulars must be issued by the end of day 1 of employment, however, we recommend issuing as the point of offer. This ensures when the individual accepts the role they do so knowing exactly what they are signing up to. When your contract is well written it removes ambiguity and your new starter knows exactly what to expect and what is expected of them.

While this guide covers the basics, every situation has its own complexities so you should always seek professional advice.
We can help, so call us on 01245 910 500.

Article last updated: 25 January 2022

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