All employees in your organisation will have a contract of employment, even if there is no written contract. By implementing a written contract it means that you are able to control the terms of employment, and that you have a legally binding document to fall back on in the event of disputes. A contract of employment will also set your employees’ minds at rest, because they will feel protected.
Statutory rights and customs are used as a means of determining the rights of employees and employers where no formal contract is in place. While this is designed to help ensure that everybody enjoys some degree of protection, and primarily so that employers cannot ride roughshod over their employees, it means that disputes can arise where an employee’s definition of statutory rights or customs disagree with your own.
There are many terms and specifics that can be included in a contract of employment, and every employee has a right to a written contract after one month of service, and must receive this contract within two months of starting work for you. Whilst it might seem like a lot of effort to go to, having contracts in place really can help to protect everybody concerned, and not only should you consider contracts with new employees to be important, but you should review contracts fairly regularly, and especially following any restructuring or if you have purchased a business.
Contracts may also include post-employment terms. For instance, it is possible to stipulate that an employee is not permitted to deal with clients or partners for a certain period of time following the termination of the contract. This type of clause is typically used to prevent employees from taking customers to a new job, or to prevent them from setting up their own business using the contracts and partnerships that they made while working for you.
Contracts of employment should not be left to chance, and you should ensure that they are in place as soon as possible. Use an experienced business solicitor to draw up contracts, and also to regularly review the terms of contracts, especially if your organisation has undergone recent restructuring.
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