When should I give my employee their contract of employment?

By law, within two months of a new employee starting work you must provide a written statement which sets out the key terms of their employment. However, it is imperative to ensure your new employee fully appreciates the terms and conditions upon which the position is offered and a contract should thus be provided when you make a formal offer of employment.

I took on a part-time secretary just over a year ago but never provided a contract of employment – is it now too late?

No

However, you must not put off the issue any longer. You need to contact us right away so we can help you clarify their terms and conditions of employment. If you continue to ignore the matter and a problem was to arise which escalated into a tribunal claim, you would be forced to pay additional compensation for your failure to provide a written, accurate and up-to-date statement setting out the key terms of their employment.

Do I need a staff handbook?

Yes

A staff handbook is one of the most valuable tools any employer can have – it will help make the day-to-day management of staff far easier and less stressful. Through a range of carefully prepared policies all brought together in one resource, we can help you effortlessly communicate your expected standards of conduct and performance.

The handbook will aid your employees’ understanding of company rules whilst also providing information on statutory entitlements – for example how long an employee must have worked for you before they can take parental leave, so you are not constantly harassed with standard enquiries.

I employ just a couple of people and we all get on really well – is it necessary for me to introduce formal disciplinary and grievance procedures?

Yes

All employers are under a statutory obligation to have written dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures. Whilst you may have a fantastic relationship with staff, unfortunately even the smallest problem could spiral out of control and conclude with an employee bringing a very costly claim against you.

In an unfair dismissal case, if you failed to comply with the three step disciplinary procedure, the tribunal will automatically rule against you and force you to compensate the disgruntled employee. Whilst written procedures will not grant you immunity from claims, they will ensure you know how to discipline staff without running the risk of being hauled up before a tribunal.