Employee Contracts, Handbooks & Business Policies

Contracts of Employment

A contract of employment sets out an employee’s terms and conditions of employment. There is no legal requirement for an employee to have a written contract of employment, however, as a minimum, employees must be provided with a statement of certain particulars of employment (section 1 statement) on or before their employment commences.

Employers may wish to include restrictive covenants in contracts of employment, especially for senior employees. The aim of restrictive covenants is to prevent solicitation of customers, clients, suppliers, other employees, or general competition for a defined period after termination, in order to protect the employer's confidential information, customer connections, its goodwill and the stability of its workforce. It is important that any restrictive covenants are drafted correctly and are reasonable, to ensure they can be enforced if necessary.  

Directors Service Agreements

A director who is also an employee will have a service agreement. There are a number of specific legal requirements for service agreements and their terms will often be subject to detailed negotiation. Specific terms may deal with share options, incentive-based schemes, restrictive covenants, confidentiality, outside interests, cessation of directorship and the company’s articles of association. Given the additional complexity of service agreements, legal advice should be sought when negotiating and drafting terms.

Our employment law team have extensive experience of drafting clear, robust contracts and agreements tailored to your organisation and in compliance with current employment law.

Staff Handbooks, Policies & Procedures

The aim of a staff handbook is to set out an employer’s policies and procedures separate from the contract of employment. When an employer is creating a staff handbook, one consideration will be whether the policies and procedures will be contractual terms or not. Generally, an employer will want to make policies and procedures non-contractual to enable the employer to change them without seeking the agreement from staff (which would be the case if they were contractual).

Policies and procedures that may be contained in a staff handbook (or be free-standing) include disciplinary and grievance policies, sickness policy, redundancy policy, health and safety and data protection.

Whether you are producing an employment handbook for the first time, updating a number of policies, or introducing new policies as your business grows, our employment team can provide you with the advice and assistance to ensure your policies set out clearly what is expected of your staff and how certain matters will be dealt with, as well as protecting you against employment claims.

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