How to write strong employment contracts: Advice for Employers

Strong employment contracts are at the heart of every successful business. If done right, they can provide protection for the business and its employees.

However, if they are either not provided at all or done wrong, they can cause trouble and leave your company susceptible to legal claims.
In his latest article, Employment Partner Paul Burton outlines how to write strong employment contracts, what to include in them and how to protect yourself from claims.

Why are employment contracts used by businesses?

Employment contracts are used in business to make sure that both the employer and employee are aware of the terms of the employment, including their rights, responsibilities, and more.

This way, everything will be laid out in full to provide clarity and avoid any potential misunderstandings or disputes.
Having a written contract in place will also mean that both parties’ interests are protected, and that the employment is fair and legal.

Is a contract of employment a legal requirement?

In the UK, employers are legally required to give a ‘written statement of employment particulars’ to any employee or worker, who is set to work for the company for more than one month, before they start.  

This written statement is the legal minimum, and therefore doesn’t include all of the terms that you would normally find within a good employment contract.

The written statement’s main purpose is to protect the employee with its terms, rather than the employer.

Although it’s not a legal obligation, we would strongly recommend providing all employees with a full contract of employment, to protect you and your company. I outline all of the terms that should be included to protect the employer later in this article.

Does an employment contract have to be written?

The written statement of employment particulars, as the name suggests, needs to be in writing.

However, an employment contract does not need to be in writing to be legally binding and can be verbal.

On the other hand, a verbal contract comes with certain risks and we would certainly recommend that any employment contracts are written; especially where there are more complex terms.

What are the different types of employment contracts?

There are a few different types of employment contracts in the UK.

  • Full-time contracts
  • Part-time contracts
  • Fixed-term contracts
  • Agency worker contracts
  • Freelancers, consultants, contractors (although these are not really employment contracts, being for self-employed people)
  • Zero-hours contracts

There are also some other types of employment such as temporary contracts, apprenticeships and internships.

As an employer, deciding on which employment contract to offer a member of staff will depend on a few factors, including the needs of your business, their availability, their working hours and the type of work they will be doing.

If you need any assistance with this, our Employment Team would be happy to discuss your specific circumstances with you. You can get in touch here.

In the full article, Paul outlines the statutory terms that every employment contract needs to include, his recommended inclusions and how to write a contract. Click here to read it here.

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