Thursday, 23 January 2020 15:56

Changes to Employment Contracts

A contract of employment exists immediately an agreement is reached to pay somebody in return for them undertaking or carrying out of work. Even when made verbally the contract is binding. Under a normal recruitment process, we might expect the rate of pay to be negotiated, but if there is an advertised salary then it would be fair for a job applicant to assume this is what they will be paid if a job is verbally offered.

If a job offer is made in writing, we would expect pay and other benefits such as holiday allowance, bonus scheme and pension provision to be clarified in the offer letter. Full terms of employment must be put in writing within eight weeks of an employee starting work.

From 6th April however, this will change with the implementation of the first tranche of recommendations from the Government’s Good Work Plan.

One of the aims of the Good Work Plan is to redress the balance of risk between employers and employees. From the 6th April, all employees/workers must be provided with a written statement of their employment particulars on or before the employee’s first day of work. 

A job offer letter will usually lay out the most critical terms such as start date, place of work, working hours, remuneration and holiday entitlement. A well written and comprehensive offer letter can act as an employment contract. However, under the new legislation, we recommend that a separate contract document is issued that is consistent across the workforce. Compulsory clauses from 6th April will be:

  • The hours and days of the week the worker/employee is required to work, whether they may be varied and how
  • Entitlement to any paid leave
  • Any other benefits not covered elsewhere
  • Details of any probationary period
  • Details of training provided by the employer

There are a number of other clauses that we recommend appear in the Employment Contract to form a robust document against which employees can be held to account. There should also be provision for the employee to sign the contract as acceptance of its terms.

Contracts should stipulate the terms that are specific to each employee. Rules and conditions that cover everyone should be referred to in the Staff Handbook. So, a driver may have a different contract from a cleaner in terms of pay and contracted hours, but they would both be subject to the same absence and sickness policies as laid out in the Staff Handbook.

Failing to issue written contracts and staff handbooks prevents you from specifying rules or conditions to which your employees must adhere whilst they work for you. In the event of a dispute or grievance you will have to revert to statutory law or case law to hold employees to account.

Contracts of Employment and Staff Handbooks need to be looked at and updated regularly so that you are not exposed to any risks from changes in Employment Law. Attending our regular Employment Law Updates will help you to keep the terms of your contracts and handbooks compliant with current legislation although we recommend a full professional review at least every three years.

If you would like us to review your employment contracts and staff handbooks, or if you need support with any other aspects of HR and Employment Law, please contact us on 01452 331331 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 1840 times Last modified on Friday, 24 January 2020 11:33


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