Up to date, legally compliant, contracts of employment and an employee handbook, is the foundation of any good business, but why?

Do you really need them?

Are they worth the effort?

Please read on to have your questions answered…….

Contracts of Employment

Contracts of employment are a day one right. It used to be the case that you had 2 months from an employees’ start date to issue one, but in April 2020 the law changed and now all employees and workers need to have a ‘statement of particulars’ on or before their first day. This is often included within an employment contract.

A ‘statement of particulars’ has a set minimum criteria. It covers things like start date, job title, employer and employee name and address, place of work and notice period. It also covers some unapparent areas like whether the hours of work can be varied and whether there are any collective agreements in place which may impact the terms and conditions of employment.

This ‘statement of particulars’ is the bare minimum requirement and can simply be given to the employee, without the need for signature. However, often employers choose to include these ‘particulars’ as part of a wider contract of employment, which contains additional information and terms and conditions of employment. Requiring a signature by the employer and employee, making it a legally binding document.

In a contract of employment, you are also able to expand on the ‘statement of particulars’ and insert additional clauses and terms where you feel it appropriate to protect your business. Areas like data protection, confidentiality and restrictions, to name just a few.

Employment contracts are vital to your business. They give you and your employees clear expectations of what is required, and what each other’s rights and obligations are. This helps to avoid potential disputes and litigation, whilst also protecting your company assets (intellectual and real).

Employee Handbook

As detailed in the ‘statement of particulars’, the minimum legal requirement for a company, is to provide it’s employees with their disciplinary and grievance procedure. So why is it so important to have an employee handbook?

In our eyes, an employee handbook is the fundamental building block for any business. It is a foundation based on your company values. A set of standards, obligations and commitments for all employees to live by.

It gives you the opportunity to confirm your stance on all eventualities within the employment lifecycle, so anything and everything from induction and probationary periods, to sickness absence management, to retirement. When you have discussed and agreed the rules and procedures around these things in advance, it makes it much easier once you grow.

It creates a bible for your managers, and a reference document for your employees. It also gives employees reassurance that you will handle every situation with consistency and transparency.

Often, auditors, clients or those you wish to be in business with, request to see these documents to ensure you are compliant and share similar values and ethics. Having them ready and on hand shows the professionalism of your business.

How Hallidays HR can help

There are a number of ways we can help. You can breathe a sigh of relief, you are not alone!

If you do not have any documentation in place at the moment, we can work with you to create brand new documents that are bespoke to your business and in line with your values.

If you do have some documents in place, but you’re not sure whether they are legally compliant and fit for purpose, then we can carry out a gap analysis for you. This will identify any gaps or shortfalls and we will work with you to update them to meet legal requirements and best practice.

These documents are yours. They represent your business, and we want to make sure they represent you in the best possible way.

If you are a client with us, we do this as our first task within any of our 3 service levels (compliance, support or growth). We also update these documents bi-annually (every April and October) in line with employment law.

If you are not a client and would prefer to work on a one-off fee basis, then we can certainly do that too.

If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail, or you would like a free, no obligations quote, then please do not hesitate to contact us.