3 min read | 31 January, 2019 By Sarah Benstead
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When you take on any staff whether temporary or permanent, full- or part-time, it’s a good idea to have some form of written agreement in place that lays out everyone’s role, rights and responsibilities. Not only does this offer clarity and protection for your employees but it offers the same for your business. This is especially important should a dispute arise further down the line.
An employment contract is essentially that document and is an agreement between employer and employee. It explains the relationship between employee and employer, what the basis of that relationship is, roles, responsibilities and any conditions attached. It starts as soon as an offer as employment is accepted and an employee is deemed to have accepted the terms and conditions when they start work, even if they haven’t yet seen them.
An employment contract doesn’t need to be written down to be legally valid, but an employee is entitled to a written statement of the main terms within two months of starting a job. Having a written document from the start however, can help avoid confusion down the line.
You and your worker are bound by the terms of the agreement until either the terms are changed (which has to be mutually agreed by both parties) or the contract ends (usually by the employee giving notice).
A legally binding employment contract or statement of employment will contain the following information initially with the possibility of further information being added in instalments.
Other terms can be introduced in instalments once someone is already working for you and these would include the following things:
As well as terms that are expressly contained in a contract there are terms which are either implied or don’t have the same legal force. Generally speaking, in a court of law express terms will always override an implied term but there are some instances where this is reversed:
Employment law and contracts can be quite complicated and it’s important to make sure both you and your employees are sufficiently covered in an employment contract to avoid disputes further down the line. If you don’t have thorough contracts in place you could be at risk of a constructive or unfair dismissal claim. It’s a great idea to talk to an HR or legal professional to make sure your contracts are covering all eventualities.
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