Contracts of Employment and Employee Handbooks

The Contract of Employment is the legal basis of the relationship between Employer and Employee and is formed as soon as an offer of employment is accepted.  Where there is no written Contract of  Employment, or where a written contract exists but does not adequately deal with a particular issue, the courts are given the power to determine the contractual term(s)  in question.  What is more, if there is any ambiguity in a written contractual term, the courts must resolve the ambiguity in favour of the employee.

For these reasons it is essential for a business of any size to have a Contract of Employment with every employee which deals fully with those aspects of the employment relationship which could potentially be open to challenge.  To do so the Contract of Employment must reflect the particular circumstances in which the business operates.

An Employee Handbook sets out the core Employment Policies which are essential to every business, such as Discipline, Grievance and Equal Opportunities. Whilst every business needs a Disciplinary Policy, however, a policy which meets all the needs of one business is unlikely to fully meet the needs of another.  A business which adopts a standard Employment Policy which has not been drafted with its particular circumstances in mind is likely to find that when the policy comes into play, it acts to constrain the decision-making process rather than to strengthen it.  

From our wealth of experience of representing companies in the Employment Tribunal we understand the dangers of badly-drafted, “off the shelf” Contracts of Employment and Employee Handbooks which fail to deal with key issues that can affect  the business.

Simplaw’s approach is to work with you to identify exactly what your business needs to include in a Contract of Employment and Employee Handbook to support its growth and development, and to draft documents which fully meet those needs.  

If you do not have a written Contract of Employment or Employee Handbook, or if you are concerned that those you have may not be supporting your business strategy, or be legally compliant, please contact us to discuss how we can help.
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