Many people think that employment contracts must be in writing. This is not so. Contracts made orally are perfectly valid. But because they are more difficult to prove, it is better to have contracts in writing, especially when disputes arise.
“Rachel, thank you for your prompt and sound advice. I’m very grateful.” – Mr L, Aldershot
Employers are legally required, by the Employment Rights Act 1996, to give employees a written statement of particulars of employment within two months of starting employment. These particulars must deal with a range of matters, from pay and pensions to discipline and grievances. The sanction is a financial penalty if the employee makes a successful employment tribunal claim. Indeed, any employer coming to tribunal without a written employment contract starts very much on the back foot.
We advise employers to have, not just a written contract of employment, but a handbook setting out policies and procedures to deal with important topics from maternity and retirement to bullying and computer use.
Public sector employees are invariably good at contract documentation, usually supported by collective agreements. But terms and policies sometimes need revision. This is likely to require sensitive handling. We are specialist Employment Contract solicitors – we can help.