A few good reasons to Spring clean your contracts!


So we’ve all just about managed to get through the misery of January and February, and a near-Arctic March. The turkey sandwiches are well and truly a distant memory and the Spring flowers are starting to remind us that there is hope ahead. Many of us have swapped our TV marathons for gym memberships and some will have well and truly broken their New Year’s Resolutions! Some members of our JL team have already signed up to run the Hull 10k race this Summer (not me). Many of us will have set ourselves ambitious goals for the New Year, which we will have forgotten by Easter.

However, as we turn out thoughts to – hopefully – better weather and fresh starts, there is one element that should be on your ‘Spring cleaning’ list and that is a review and tidy up of your contracts, handbooks and employment documents ready for the year ahead.

Some of the pitfalls to avoid

Some important and significant changes to Data Protection legislation are due to be introduced in May and some of you might not have revisited your contracts since the pension changes in 2012.

Having clear and up-to-date policies and procedures gives you greater flexibility and control in how you manage your business. As your business grows, the way in which you manage your staff develops too. Your policies and procedures give you protection when issues do arise and a solid foundation from which to take relevant action, particularly when it comes to disciplinaries. When it comes to contracts, it is important to set out the terms of the arrangement you have with staff members clearly so that there are fewer grey areas and you (and your employees) know exactly what you can and can’t do. If everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet you are less likely to experience issues, but if they do arise it’ll be much easier to deal with them.

A lesson from flat pack!

What if you don’t have any documentation at all? Well, it’s a bit like purchasing some IKEA furniture without any instructions. If there are no terms or conditions, staff cannot reasonably be expected to know what they can and can’t do and what the terms of their employment are. They can also apply to the Tribunal if you do not supply them with a contract within three months of starting their employment and you can get fined up to four weeks’ pay as a penalty.

Reviewing or drafting contracts and Handbooks can seem like a chore, a bit like sticking to your New Year’s resolutions to attend the gym regularly, but that’s where we can provide a helping hand. At James Legal we offer a free audit of any employment documentation you have, so we can take care of that clean sweep for you. We will inform you if any changes are required in order to bring your documentation up to date and ensure that it is right for your business.

If you don’t have any documentation at all, fear not. We can assist in ensuring you have the necessary documentation to move your business forward in 2018 as well. All we need is to have a chat about your business so that we can establish what your requirements are.

If you think you would benefit from our help, don’t hesitate to contact us via (01482) 225566 or via info@jameslegal.co.uk

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