If it isn’t written down, it hasn’t happened.

Claire Vane
May 21, 2024

One of the many things I learned from being a School Governor, was that Ofsted, in their rigour, always say that if something isn’t written down, then it hasn’t happened. I have learned over the years, that playing back to someone in writing exactly what has been agreed, always pays dividends. So often we think we have said something, yet a different message is heard. It just makes good business sense to put everything in writing for confirmation and agreement, whatever the issue….

Most of our clients, when we take new clients on, tell us that they have reviewed the contracts and that they are perfectly happy with them. On further scrutiny, we often find that these templates are not completely legally compliant and do not cover the critical areas.

Inevitably, of course, some employers do not get around to issuing contracts, but since 2020, it has been a requirement to issue contracts on day one of employment, whereas before then, there was an eight-week allowance of time before contracts needed to be issued. This is no longer the case.

In the case of one of our clients recently, we noticed that the senior leadership team members had all been in post a large number of years and were reaching the point where they were likely to be ‘flight risks’. We realised that the notice periods were not fit for purpose. This can be an absolute disaster in practical terms. This is one area that is worth looking at with your contracts.

There are specific rules about terminating contracts and how individuals should be paid. The clear drafting of contracts can make departures much easier whatever their circumstances, but there is still a prevalence of half-reading a contract of employment and shoving it in a drawer, both by the employee and with the employer taking the template for granted.

Even though an employment contract is only half the picture, as there is a psychological contract which is just as, if not more important, the actual drafting is critical.

If you would like advice on any of these, please do get in touch.

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