The FMB Information Services Department has recently published a series of lay off and redundancy pay articles in Master Builder magazine.
Following on from these, it is useful for members to know more about employment law. The Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) has developed an Employment Law Guidance Programme which aims to help businesses understand more fully what they need to do to comply with employment law - and in doing so, to save time and money.
Most businesses are likely to encounter questions about employment, and many will turn to outside advisors, which can cost a lot of money and be unnecessary. Analysis commissioned by the Government from PriceWaterhouseCoopers shows that employers routinely over-comply with many of their employment law obligations – duplicating paperwork or paying professionals for advice and services that they could get free from Government sources such as www.businesslink.gov.uk
The ‘Employing People’ pages of the website are essential to anyone running their own business. They have been updated and improved with free advice and services and online tools designed to help with a full range of employment issues.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT AND A WRITTEN STATEMENT OF EMPLOYMENT?
A contract of employment exists as soon as an employee agrees to start work. The only piece of paper required by law is a document setting out the “main particulars" of their employment within two months of their start date. Often employers unknowingly double up on documentation, providing new staff with a written contract AND a written statement of employment when they don’t need both. As long as the contract contains all the employment terms and conditions, there is no need for a written statement to be provided as well.
Each time an employee’s terms and conditions are varied though, a written statement is required, the Government has created an online tool available through its Business Link website (www.businesslink.gov.uk/writtenstatement). It takes users through a range of questions and uses the answers to create a bespoke and legally reliable statement. It only takes 15 minutes to complete and can save around £120 each time. The tool can be used to generate a new statement each time an employee’s terms and conditions are varied.
There are other optional contractual terms which you may need for your business, eg. who owns intellectual property created by your employee, or confidentiality agreements. If this is the case, you may want to consider including these within a written contract.