Contracts, policies & procedures
Our employment lawyers can ensure that your employment contracts, policies and procedures are frequently reviewed and applied consistently across your organisation.
Drafted correctly, your policies will help you to manage your business, comply with current legislation and deal with many day-to-day employment matters more easily.
We help clients to draft and implement robust employment policies and procedures including:
- Contractor agreements, IR35 and off-payroll working rules
- Standard terms, staff handbooks, and general policies and procedures
- Consultancy agreements
- Service agreements for Senior Executives
- Post termination restrictions
We also advise on the process to adopt when varying employment contractual terms and on contract and policy issues arising from mergers, acquisitions and disposals, including the application of TUPE.
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FAQs – Contracts, Policies and Procedures
Having a clear contract of employment for employees has a number of benefits. It provides certainty for both parties clearly outlining what is expected and the agreed employment terms. It can also include terms to help protect the business, including after the employee leaves, such as clauses around confidentiality, IP and non-solicitation.
A contract of employment can be changed if both parties agree. It can also be changed by one party only if the contract permits this, for example if the contract contains a specific mobility clause. If changes are not permitted by the contract nor agreed between the parties, it is possible for an employer to terminate the contract and offer employment on new terms but employers should take legal advice before taking this step.
There are many different types of employment contracts including permanent, casual, fixed term, full time and part time contracts. There are also likely to be different contracts for different levels of employees such as directors, senior management and junior roles.
Employers are obliged to give their employees certain information about their in employment in a written statement (known as a ‘section 1 statement’). This information is set out in full in Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and includes certain information about the job role, start date, place of work, pay, working hours, pensions, paid leave, sickness absence, other benefits, notice periods, collective agreements and training requirements.
Employment contracts and policies should be updated as and when the information contained within them change. Changes to employment contracts should be communicated in writing for clarity and, in some cases, employers are obligated by law to send changes in writing.
Most employers will issue a contract prior to the employee starting and will make employment conditional on the signing of the contract. If they do not sign, their employment would not start.
However, there may be exceptions to this, for example if the employer and employee already have a verbal agreement or the employee has already started working for the employer before the contract has been signed. Employers should seek legal advice in such cases where the position is not straightforward.
It will depend on the breach but generally speaking if an employee breaches the terms of their employment contract or business policies the employer could take disciplinary action against them. It may also be possible for the employer to pursue a legal claim against them, for example a breach of contract claim.
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