Employment contracts & policies – top tips for businesses

June 05, 2017

It’s vital to have the right type of contracts and policies in place regarding your staff. They need to be robust, legally compliant, and tailored to your organisation. Here’s my five top tips to help protect your business.

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1. Get the right contract

Be clear what your staffing needs are and get the right type of paperwork in place – typically either an employment or a bank worker contract, depending on the nature of the working relationship. Getting the wrong paperwork in place can have severe consequences; the rights of employees and bank workers are very different. 

2. Conditions of employment

There are mandatory terms that must be included in all contracts of employment, but you can also include additional terms/requirements to protect you, e.g. your ability to continue employing them is subject to your compliance with your regulatory obligations. Such additional clauses can help minimise the risk of disputes and the risk of a potential claim if you terminate someone’s employment because a condition is no longer satisfied. 

3. Probationary period

Always include a probationary period and retain a discretion to extend it if you need further time to assess their suitability. You may want to limit their notice period during the probationary period to the statutory minimum of 1 week after one month’s service.

4. Sickness absence management policy 

Sickness absence is a major problem for care providers. A robust Sickness Absence Management policy will give you the tools to manage absences properly and effectively. It should include: 

  • Strict reporting requirements, e.g. by when and to who? Notification by text or leaving a message with a colleague to pass on is not appropriate in my view.
  • Obligations on staff to undergo a medical examination at your request, and to disclose copies of any medical reports to you. This can be very beneficial, especially where you are dealing with someone with long term sickness absence where you need medical evidence to assess whether there are sufficient grounds to dismiss, and
  • Details of the procedure you will follow should you need to take action to address absences (both persistent short term and long term).

The right policy could help reduce levels of sickness absence.   

5. Regulatory requirements

Always make sure that where relevant your policies and procedures provide evidence of your compliance with your regulatory obligations. This includes having:

  • An effective Recruitment Policy to ensure staff are ‘fit and proper’;
  • A Training Policy that meets your obligations regarding supervision, training and support etc. and 
  • A clear Whistleblowing Policy to help evidence you have adequate safeguarding processes in place.

For more information about how your contracts and policies can help protect your organisation, or to discuss any staffing issues you may have, contact the employment team on 0117 929 0451.

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