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Why is it important for businesses to give employees, workers, and consultants a well drafted contract and handbook; and what are the legal implications?

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Calendar January 20, 2023

Why is it important for businesses to give employees, workers, and consultants a well drafted contract and handbook; and what are the legal implications?

 

Contracts
A contract is an agreement that is legally binding between an individual and a company. This can be between employer and employee or between a business and consultant. It outlines the conditions of the employment or service, for example holiday pay, salary, hours, or duties etc.

Ensuring that you have well drafted contracts are essential for a business, these help you manage individuals effectively and if there were any issues to arise, with a well drafted contract, you are able to protect your interests.

If a contract is not issued to an employee within two months of starting, they may be able to claim an additional three or four weeks’ worth of pay. The tribunal can see the employer as not “fulfilling your obligations under employment law”.

Another reason, which is an important one, is determining an individual’s employment status. For example, if a self-employed individual is not given a contract and carelessness in regarding a employee status could lead in penalties from HMRC.

It is also important to have contracts tailored to your business and the responsibilities individuals have which would at the same time protect your business.

 

Handbook
A handbook highlights all relevant employment and job-related information that individuals need to be aware off.

Aspects of a good handbook you expect to find is company information, a mission statement plus the company values, general information for example company policies and procedures, perks etc. It also includes important information such as disciplinary and grievance procedures and employment law regulations to comply with.

A handbook that is well drafted has many advantages for a business. The main one is that it helps a company run smoothly as expectations are clearly outlined in the workplace.

When a business has outlined their expectations, this automatically minimises workplace disputes. It allows the business to be open and clear about its stand on issues like discrimination and harassment, as well as on how to report any violations.

These clear policies and procedures are also easily accessible and beneficial to managers too. It acts as a good reference manual to have when in doubt, or if you are having any issues with the business. The main thing is that it helps ensure that your team complies with all employment laws.

One of the biggest and most beneficial reasons for having a well drafted handbook is where you may need to prove yourself. For example, an employee may raise a claim and may go to an employment tribunal and having a handbook can be a beneficial legal defence. In order for a handbook to assist, you must ensure that it is up to date and understood by all individuals.

Why should you get your contracts and handbooks drafted by solicitors?
If you already have a drafted contract or handbook, then you should get this reviewed regularly by an employment solicitor, they will ensure it complies with current employment laws.

If you are looking for new contracts and handbook, it is highly advisable to get these drafted by a solicitor to ensure it is compliant with the law. The same applies if you are implementing a handbook for the first time and unsure on the content or wording.

Even though not having a company handbook is illegal, it can be seen as irresponsible. If a serious employment dispute arises employers can make clear all staff how to deal with particular situations. Having all policies and procedures in one handbook gives staff, including senior members of staff easy access to detail. A handbook highlights what is expected, this can be from data protection to use of mobile phones giving a clear explanation.

At KLG we are regularly instructed to carry out annual audits of contractual documentation for our business clients and they also review, draft and update contracts of employment, policies, and procedures. Some of these include:

 

  • Dress code
  • Pay policy
  • Expenses policy
  • Equal opportunities policy
  • Anti-harassment and bullying policy
  • Anti-corruption and bribery policy
  • Holidays policy
  • Disciplinary and capability procedure
  • Grievance procedure
  • Sickness absence policy
  • Time off for antenatal appointments policy
  • Maternity policy
  • Paternity policy
  • Shared parental leave
  • Time off for dependents policy
  • Compassionate leave policy
  • Health and safety policy
  • Data Protection Policy
  • Privacy notices

 

And many more!

If you need new employment contract and handbook drafted or need your current handbook reviewed, please call our friendly team a call on 0330 221 0684 or email [email protected].

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