As a business it is important that you have a record of your contractual arrangements, preferably in writing. In respect of your employees you should set out their terms of employment in writing; indeed, a failure to do so may result in a breach of the employee’s statutory rights as set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Many disputes that arrive at the door of the Employment Tribunal or the Courts are as a result of there being no, or very little, written contractual terms. This poses difficult questions for the Judge to answer and deal with as it is often a ‘he said, she said’ scenario with a lack of clarity as to who is going to succeed with the litigation.
Litigation is to be avoided if at all possible as it is costly, uncertain and risky.
So, as a matter of course, every employer needs to provide a written statement of terms of employment to all of their employees. This should generally be provided within two months of employment commencing.
The basic written terms should include the parties’ names, commencement of employment, job title and description, pay, hours of work, disciplinary and grievance procedures that may apply.
Although the written statement of terms are essential, it is more often than not, particularly for senior employees, or employees who have access to confidential or sensitive business information, important to provide more detailed terms by reference to such matters as Intellectual Property, Confidential Information, Data Protection, Post Termination Restrictions.
As a Dispute Resolution solicitor, a meeting with a business to explain what terms should be put in place for employees, is a more controlled and less costly one, than a meeting with a business who has issues with an employee where no written statement of terms have been put in place.