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Employment contracts for Employers
Contract law is a tricky area for many employers – one which is important to get right, for both your own security and that of your employees.
Employment contracts frequently take the form of a written document which both employee and employer sign at the beginning of a period of employment. A properly written, signed contract is a legal document which binds both you and your employee to the conditions it contains, as long as those conditions are allowed by law.
Why have a written employment contract?
Many employers (and employees) assume that if there’s nothing in writing, there’s no contract. This is not the case however: a verbal contract of employment is still a contract under employment law and many employers are often surprised by how many rights are conferred on employees by such informal arrangements.
For this reason, it’s recommended that you always have a written contract with each of your employees – it gives both of you more security and certainty.
If you’re unsure what to include in your employee’s contract, it’s worth speaking to an employment law solicitor. Once signed, an employment contract is legally binding upon you as well as your employee.
What should an employment contract include?
You can use an employment contract to be clear about your expectations and what are contractual benefits and what are non-contractual benefits. In addition, you can add clauses, such as restrictive covenants which can prevent non-competition as well as non-poaching of clients and key employees in your business even after the employee leaves your employment.
Poorly drafted clauses may not be enforceable and it is important that they are clear, considered and well drafted to ensure they are enforceable upon any employee you wish to restrict after they leave your employment.
Even though it’s possible to alter an existing employee’s contract or agree a new one with them, this requires you to follow correct procedure which can be complicated depending on the terms of the original agreement.
If you’ve got questions about contract law or want advice on writing a contract of employment for a new employee, our experienced employment solicitors in Bristol and South Gloucestershire can help.