Time for Review?.

By Andrew Knorpel on 10 September 2015

It’s very tempting not to make changes just because it’s easier that way.  But sometimes change is good and this also applies to keeping your standard contracts of employment up-to-date.

We tend to advise employers to review their standard contracts every few years, both to reflect recent legislation, the opportunities presented by recent case law and sometimes just general good ideas.

Here are a few examples –

• If your contracts pre-date 2010, they might not refer to compliance with any anti-corruption and bribery policy and related procedures.  Such a policy coupled with training would assist an employer with the statutory defence under the Bribery Act 2010.

• Even though the Working Time Regulations 1998 purportedly prohibit the carrying over of statutory leave, the reality (following a series of cases) is that holiday can be carried over where an employee was unable or unwilling to take it due to sick leave, maternity leave or other statutory leave.  That said, in light of the recent case reported in our last bulletin, a cut-off of 18 months can be imposed for the purposes of carrying over holiday.

• Many employers offer contractual sick pay.  But have you thought of stopping this where an employee goes sick after having been asked to attend a disciplinary hearing or during their notice period?

• As employees are promoted, additional provisions might become relevant which were not applicable when they held more junior roles.  These might include terms on intellectual property and post-termination restrictions.

• It has become far more common to allow for payments in lieu of notice to be limited to basic pay only and made in monthly instalments, rather than in one lump sum.  Some contracts even provide for the monthly payments to stop if the employee obtains starts new employment.

• Traditional post-termination restrictions include non-competition, non-solicitation of customers, non-dealing with customers, non-interference with suppliers and non-poaching of staff.  But have you ever thought what would happen if one of your staff went to work for one of your customers or suppliers?  If that might have a detrimental effect on your business, you might wish to stop that for a time too.

Of course, reviewing your contracts is just the first step.  After this comes the process of implementation.  If you’d like to hear more about that, then come to our next seminar!

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