Employment law update – the employment contract

I found this article relating to Employment Law which I thought may be of interest. So here it is for you

The foundation stone of the workplace is the employment contract. The terms of the contract can come from a number of different sources, for example, statute, industry rules and standards, and the company’s own rules. The Employment Rights Act 1996 places a duty on employers to issue written terms and conditions to employees within eight weeks of taking up employment. The ERA lists the minimum contents and these include the names of the parties, the date the contract came into being, terms related to job title, wages and hours of work.

There’s nothing to stop employers including additional terms of their own. When we are preparing documents for clients we always ask about things like dress code. This does not appear in the ERA’s list of contents, but we always specifically consider it. You wouldn’t believe how contentious it can be! Many employees grumble about their ‘human rights’ are being breached because you ask them to wear business clothing instead of allowing shorts. Nonsense! Provided that your requirement isn’t unlawful, there’s nothing wrong with setting your standards out clearly and getting employees to sign up to it.

Many employers, especially smaller ones, don’t really understand the importance and value of having a really good, robust set of terms. They set out the rights and responsibilities of both parties and are invaluable in helping an employer manage his business effectively. However good the first lots of terms are, they will date fairly quickly. Life changes so quickly these days that it’s sensible to review them every three years or so. It may well be that when you last revised your terms of employment we weren’t facing the Facebook menace. How clear are you as an employer about your rights to access an employee’s emails if he is absent from work and can you use your CCTV footage in a discipline investigation? And if you don’t specifically reserve the right to do so, relying on CCTV footage to dismiss an employee may invade his privacy, be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and make the dismissal unfair. It’s a tricky business.

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If you need help putting your terms of employment together, give us a call. Russell HR Consulting provides expert knowledge in the practical application of employment law as well as providing employment law training and HR support services. For more information, visit our website at www.russellhrconsulting.co.uk or call a member of the team on 0845 644 8955.

Pre-Trial Preparation for an Employment Tribunal – Discover a workshop which takes delegates through the nitty gritty of the paperwork, negotiation and tactics before you even set foot in the tribunal. We offer 10% discount for bookings received by 31st of May.

Russell HR Consulting offers HR services to businesses nationwide, including Buckinghamshire (covering Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Banbury, Northampton, Towcester and surrounding areas), Nottinghamshire (covering Chesterfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, Sheffield, Worksop and surrounding areas) and Hampshire (covering Aldershot, Basingstoke, Reading, Farnborough, Fareham, Portsmouth, Southampton and surrounding areas).

Kate Russell started Russell HR Consulting in 1998 and now divides her time between advising businesses of all sizes on HR issues, and delivering a range of highly practical employment law awareness training to line managers, including a range of public workshops. Her unique combination of legal background, direct line management experience and HR skills, enables Kate to present the stringent requirements of the law balanced against the realities of working life. She is a senior presenter for several companies and a popular public speaker. Kate completed an MA in strategic human resource management in 2004.
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