How do you write a Contract of Employment?

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It is your legal obligation as an employer to provide each employee with a written contract. In this article, the MIA’s Business Support Helpline partner, Croner, breaks down the terms and conditions that should be present in every employment contract…

You must provide a contract to full-time and part-time employees within two months of the date their employment begins.

Contracts are important. As Acas states, “Simple misunderstanding over what is or what is not in a contract are one of the main causes of employment tribunal claims.”

How to write an employment contract

So, now you have a commitment to getting your new employment contract right, where do you start? Writing a contract of employment can be a daunting task, but we can break it down into sections.

There are certain contract of employment terms and conditions that are present in every contract. These are:

  • Basic job information

Key information relating to the role. For example: job title, department, department head, etc.

  • Pay and benefits

What is the employee’s pay and benefits package? Include: annual salary, raises, bonuses, incentives, and any additional benefits.

  • Holiday

How many days is the employee entitled to? Include information on: sick leave, family emergencies, unpaid leave, flexible hours (if applicable)

  • Employment type

What is the employee’s employment status? Define whether they are: an employee, a worker, a contractor, self-employed

  • Employment period

Are they permanently employed, or for a set period? Include: amount of hours expected to work, working from home, working outside the office, working weekends/nights

  • Privacy policy

If your workplace uses email (who doesn’t?) then it needs a privacy policy. Outline: dos and don’ts of social media and email usage in the office

  • Termination

Finally, what do you (as an employer), and they (as an employee) have to do to terminate employment? Include: how much notice do you require, do you require written notice?

You should also consider any gaps you might have left when writing up an employment contract. Some terms you may leave out as they are ‘too obvious’, or so integral to the role that you may not even have thought to include them.

An example of this is an employee having a driving license if they are a driver.

You also need to consider the specifics of the role. If there are significant health & safety risks involved, such as operating machinery, then you need to state your commitment to health & safety in the workplace, and outline the measure you have in place to combat accidents.

You may find this helpful: Contract of employment template for UK employers

Additionally, there’s informational about whistleblower policies. As well as other information about general policies and procedures your business has.

Here is a basic employment contract template, showing what to include and how to order it:

  • Names (employee, employer, department head, etc.).
  • Employment start date.
  • Job title and description.
  • Workplace details.
  • Working hours (maximums of 48 hours per week, overtime, etc.).
  • Probationary period.
  • Salary deductions.
  • Employee expenses (travel, business, etc.).
  • Holiday entitlement.
  • Sickness absence (sick pay entitlement, policy for sickness absence, etc.).
  • Termination (Notice needed, notice period, etc.).
  • Grievance & disciplinary.
  • Retirement (procedure for voluntary retirement).
  • Severability clause (each clause is independent, if one does not apply, others still apply).
  • Prior agreements (statement that all prior agreements are invalid upon signing contract).
  • Jurisdiction (Which law applies? English, Welsh, Scottish, etc.).

Expert Support

For employment contract advice, or any other HR & Employment issue, call the Business Support Helpline included in your MIA membership.

Email alice@mia.org.uk or call 01403 800500 for the exclusive Business Support Helpline scheme number.

www.croner.co.uk