Recruiting new employees takes time and effort – it might cost you agency and selections fees or the investment of time by your HR professional or managers involved in the process.
Once you’ve found your perfect candidate, it may seem tempting to save money by recycling an old template employment contract or downloading one from the internet, rushing to get a job offer out quickly to sign them up to terms.
At this stage, we can’t emphasise enough how important it is to invest in a well drafted employment contract – and we aren’t just saying that out of self-interest.
What is an employment contract?
The written terms you put in place will form the basis of the whole employment relationship between the employer and employee. An employment contracts sets out each party’s rights and entitlements, and if something goes wrong it’s what each party has to fall back on, so it is important to start off on the right foot.
Take the time to put in place a proper employment contract either by seeking advice from a professional (who has seen what happens when poor written terms are issued) or by using a template that has been well drafted by a professional.
You should make sure your documents are regularly reviewed because the world of employment law moves fast, with new legislation and legal requirements being updated all the time.
Why you need an employment contract
Putting aside the fact that you’re required by law to set out certain things that govern an employee’s employment in writing, there’s usually other items that you will want to include to give your business the best protection.
What happens if your employee commits a heinous act of gross misconduct and you want to suspend them while you carry out your fair process… but you forgot to add that into the contract. Or if you want to dismiss them without notice following a fair process… but you forgot to add that right into the contract too?
It’s worth investing the time and money from the start by having an employment expert prepare a contract for you – there’s a long list of areas you might find yourself in a tricky situation with later down the line and employment specialists will know exactly what to look out for, the common pitfalls and how to help you avoid or minimise the risk to your business.
It’s in our nature to want to take people at face value and trust everything you’re told – we always want to see the best in people. However, in terms of an employment relationship, it’s an unnecessary risk to take and you should remember to carry out those all important employment checks – including references, the right to work, qualifications etc. and make sure that any offer of employment is subject to those checks.
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