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Why should you update your contracts of employment?

Published on 30 September 2021 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett

With businesses reopening and employees returning to the offices, is unlikely that updating your contracts of employment will be at the forefront of your mind.

An employment contract is fundamental to the employment relationship between an employer and an employee. It sets out the rights and obligations of each party and it is imperative that every employee is provided with an employment contract, whether they are engaged on a casual, part-time or full-time basis.

Contracts that were once fit for purpose may now lack the essential terms that protect your business. For example, there may have been recent changes in the law that impact your obligations as an employer so it is important that these are accurately reflected. It is therefore imperative that all employment contracts are reviewed often to ensure they still reflect the current arrangements in place, and to ensure they meet the legal requirements. If your employment contracts are not updated, it can cause issues in the event of a dispute. If an employee brings an Employment Tribunal claim, this will be one of the first documents that is reviewed. In the absence of a valid contract, it will be left to the Tribunal to decide what the terms of the contract are.

When considering the contents of an employment contract it is important to also review the following;

  1. legislation relating to various employment conditions;
  2. common law rules and terms;
  3. the express terms of the contract including any oral/verbal arrangements that have been agreed between the parties;
  4. any implied terms of the contract which exist in order to make the contract effective;
  5. custom and practice at your workplace which is generally acknowledged and expected by both parties; and
  6. ensuring the terms are consistent with the staff handbook any policies.

As contracts of employment set out the parameters of the employment relationship, it is essential that you get them right.

Whether you require assistance in drafting new contracts, reviewing and updating your existing ones, or if you’re looking to make changes, our Employment Law specialists can help you. If you would like further information please contact the Employment team on 0800 470 0340 or click here and we will be more than happy to assist you through the process.

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