It is a legal obligation for employers to issue employees with a Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment within two months of them starting. This is the bare minimum that an employer must provide and the Statement must set out the most important terms of employment, such as rate of pay, hours of work, holiday entitlement, sick pay provision and provisions relating to a notice of termination.
We advise our business clients to go a step further and expand the Statement of Terms with additional provisions, to ensure they protect their business. Providing clarity about the way the business is run is also helpful to employees and this is the purpose of the Employee Handbook.
When we are asked to prepare a Contract of Employment for a business, we will always propose a meeting with you so that we understand your business and what you want. We will tailor the Contract to the needs of the business, we do not simply take one ‘off the shelf’ as this is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. The Contract of Employment is the most important document underlying your relationship with your employees and, as such, it is important to spend time on getting it right; this is the key reference point, should there be any disputes during the relationship.
Examples of some of the additional clauses we recommend including in a Contract of Employment beyond the legal minimum requirements are: a clause permitting the employer to make deductions from the employee’s pay if any sums are due to the employer; a provision allowing the employer discretion as to whether to pay full pay or the legal minimum rate of pay when lay off or short time working is necessary; restrictions on the employee’s competitive activities after leaving their employment.
Then there is the Employee Handbook – this contains all of the policies and procedures which need to be in place in the business, to ensure both you and your employees know the rules that apply to the relationship. Without having this structure in place (and following it), you could get into difficulty mishandling a situation and employees may be unaware of what they can and cannot do. A Handbook will, typically, include Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, an Equality & Diversity Policy, a Sickness Absence Management Procedure, a policy on Social Media Use, and many others, according to the type of business we are advising and what you want.