A contract of employment is a legally binding agreement between and employer and an employee. Its best practice to have written contracts but it’s not compulsory.

Under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, certain particulars do have to be put in writing within 2 months of the start of the contract. The “written statement of employment particulars” advises the employee of the more important terms of their employment. There is no “small-employer” exclusion from this legal requirement.

Within two months of commencement employees should be supplied with the terms of their employment in a written document such as an employee handbook. The employer should make it clear if the hand-book does not form part of the contract. If parts of the employee hand-book are contractual this should be shared with the employee before they join the company. It’s much easier having a “non-contractual” employee hand-book because the policies and procedures can be varied much easier.

Probationary periods in an employment contract are really important as it gives the employer and employee the opportunity to see if the job is right for them. Regular reviews should be under-taken to assess how the employee is “settling” into the new role and if there is any further training and support needed. Regardless of how robust the recruitment process is, until the person joins the team it’s difficult to assess “culture and personality” fit.

If the person is not performing in the role, the probation period can be extended or the employment contract terminated giving the appropriate notice and managing the process fairly.

A person with little to no service can claim “wrongful” dismissal if you have not followed a fair process and terminated under the probationary clause without paying the appropriate notice period.

RCS HR Consultancy can provide you with an employment contract as simple or as complex as the business requires. Some employment contracts are straight-forward, other contracts far more complex especially when you need to protect the business so may include restrictive or confidentiality clauses

Employment Contract
Employee Handbook

Employee Hand-Book

Company policies and procedures are created specifically to reflect your business needs and are updated whenever the law changes. Employment Contracts usually refer employees to the Employee Handbook where certain non-contractual policies and procedures are retained. This could be a “hard -copy” however, most employers hold this information electronically, the important thing is that all employees have access to it. If the policies are updated employees need to be advised.

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