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Are your employment contracts up to date?

Many employers often make the mistake of thinking that supplying a contract of employment to a new employee is their only obligation with regards to contracts, but you also need to ensure contracts are kept up to date with any law changes.

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Following the initial issue of the contract, time will pass and changes to legislation may come into play. As an employer, you have a legal requirement to issue written terms and conditions of employment (usually included in the contract of employment) – to a new employee within the first two months of employment with an organisation.

Unfortunately, this is not where your responsibility with regards to contracts ends. Changes to employment law are typically introduced twice annually, on the commencement of the first week of April and October of each year. It is these changes which have an impact on the employment contract.

Is your employee handbook out of date too?

You should be aware that an employee handbook could also form part of the employment contract. Therefore, the policies and procedures inside such a publication are also subject to change. Also make sure that you are informed of precedent set by case law and decisions made at employment tribunals or other formal settings.

If contracts and related documentation are not checked on a regular basis, an employer may not be compliant with the law. Old documentation can lead an employer to believe that's the way things have always been done.

This is a risky strategy, which could result in potential formal claim via an employment tribunal. Every employer, regardless of size, should review his or her employment contracts on a regular basis.

Such a review is recommended at least once a year, if not twice to coincide with the common commencement dates. This ensures that any legislative change or case law is reflected within both the contract and employee handbook.

Let us take the strain...

Forum members can access a free contract of employment template which is up to date with the latest regulations. If you have multiple contracts and handbooks, or want to change terms and conditions, call us on 0845 130 1722 to find out how our HR health check service can help you.

Read more on changing the terms and conditions of employment.