Research from Which? Legal Service indicates that only 3 in 10 employees receive employment contracts before starting their new jobs. 9% of people didn’t get a contract until they’d been in the post for six months or more. A large number of those who did receive their contracts either skimmed through them or didn’t bother reading them at all.
Let me say this. I’m not surprised. Honestly, I’m not. Most employers don’t know that they’re supposed to give their employees anything in writing. Often, people think that agreeing everything verbally is enough. In fact, small business owners who choose to employ friends and family really just don’t even see the point of putting anything in writing.
And how disheartening. You go to all that effort of having employment contracts written up – often at considerable expense if you choose to have them done by a solicitor – and your employees don’t even bother reading them. I don’t think it’s a case of can’t be bothered – more a case of not understanding all this “whyfores and wherefores and hereunders” and all the other jargon that’s often included in employment contracts to make them inaccessible and downright scary.
So before you berate employees for not reading their contracts, how about writing them in plain English? How about using the word “you” instead of “the Employee”, “we” instead of “the Company”? After all, the contract exists for you to tell your staff what they can expect from you (fair treatment, salary, holidays etc) and what you expect from them (turn up at this time, do this kind of work etc). All the additional information about your company rules and standards can go in your staff handbook.
In a nutshell, give anyone who works for you an employment contract. Just keep it simple*, ok?
*For more information about keeping it simple, talk to us on 01487 815720 – we’d be only too glad to rescue you from 15 pages of wherefores and hereunders!