Expert View: Employment Contracts

Natalie Williams

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13 Nov 2019

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If you’d like to download a copy of the contract reviewed in the video, click here.

 

Make Your Contracts 'Good Work' Compliant

Agreements in force

A lot of contracts include something called a ‘flexibility clause’. This section specifies that you might want the employee to perform other duties separate from their main role. If you decide to include this clause don’t list particular jobs, it may cause confusion as to what the individual’s role actually is.

Probationary period

You must have a probationary period clause in your employment contracts from April 2020. You have to include this clause even if the employee doesn’t have a probationary period. Holiday accrual during this time is often mishandled. An individual’s holiday begins to accrue from the first day of their employment. It is legal to say that they can only take holiday as it’s accrued in the first year.

If the employee has statutory minimum holiday entitlement (5.6 weeks) then annual leave accrues at 2.33 days a month. So, an employee could take four days holiday after two months, for example.

Training entitlement

A training clause is also a legal requirement as of April 2020. You must include any mandatory training the individual must undertake to perform their role. For example:

  • Safeguarding training
  • Complaints handling
  • Conflict resolution
  • Working at height
  • Manual handling

In some cases, employees may not be able to go on client sites without first undertaking training. You should state this in the contract.

Also, on the job training should be classed as working time. As a result, you should pay employee the national minimum wage (at least) if not their usual pay.

Hours of work

You must include a section on the hours you expect the employee to work. This should detail the days of work the individual is expected to work on, as well as the hours. i.e. Monday-Friday.

Employees working more than six hours must have a break of at least 20 minutes. The break doesn’t need to be paid, and you can dictate when staff take breaks, so long as one is provided.

You can also specify that employees may be required to work a reasonable amount of additional hours. However, you cannot make them work more than 48 hours on average per week over a 17 week period, unless they sign an opt-out clause.

Holiday entitlement

One significant change brought about by the Good Work Plan is the reference period for holiday pay. As of 6th April 2020, the reference period will be 52 weeks, rather than 12.

Other paid leave

You’ll also need a section on other paid leave. You must detail any other time off that staff might get. This includes:

  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Adoption leave
  • Bereavement leave
  • Study leave

Sick pay

Some employers would love the idea of not having to pay employees when on sickness leave. However, it is a legal requirement, so make sure you do so.

After three days, staff are entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP). Make sure that any payments for periods of sickness absence are made in accordance with the SSP scheme.

Missing sections

One section that’s missing from the contract is a clause on who to appeal to in the event of a grievance or disciplinary. You need to detail who the individual should report to if they wish to appeal.

Usually this person is a manager, director, owner or HR representative.

Expert support

If you are missing any of the above sections, are unsure if your contract is compliant, or would just like a contract review of your own, speak to a Croner consultant today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Natalie Williams works as a HR Consultant covering the North West of England. She specialises in drafting bespoke employment documentation for a variety of sectors. She also advises on many areas of employment practice to ensure that Croner clients are always up to date with legislative changes and best practice.

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