We all know that employers have to issue a written contract outlining the main terms and conditions of employment, but in a busy successful business, finding the time to produce them and issue them to new staff often gets overlooked.

I have reviewed over 140 contracts of employment and only one of them was legally compliant. In fact two recent cases resulted in the employer having to pay out over £5000 and £2000 respectively because the contract was not worded properly. On top of that, a couple of contracts I reviewed recently were clearly either downloaded from a website or were written to match the opinions of the HR consultant or solicitor who wrote them rather than the needs of the business.

One had a three stage appeal process in the disciplinary procedure and was probably written by someone who had a gripe against a previous employer, as it said that until the appeal process was completed no action could be taken against an employee. This meant that it would take two months to dismiss someone who was stealing from you! The other contract committed the employer to paying for counseling for any employee who was suffering from stress even if it was not work related. In both cases the employer had fewer than 10 staff.

The trouble is that if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself being taken to an employment tribunal, the first document the tribunal will want to see is the contract of employment (or “written statement of main terms of employment” as it is called in the legislation). As an employer you are obliged to issue one of these to all staff. If you have not you have failed the first test, not a good start.

KHES will not only draft contracts for your staff, we will also come on site to issue them and get them signed by your employee. Another job off your plate!


“We recently took over another restaurant and none of the staff had written contracts of employment, also some of the staff were apprehensive of the new management team (which is putting it mildly!) Kieron normally drafts our contracts but on this occasion we also asked him to issue them and explain them to our new staff individually. This meant we could get on with developing this new business in the direction we wanted, but there was an added bonus. During the meetings Kieron was able to dispel a few myths, identify talent and nip any legal issues in the bud. Kieron’s knowledge of employment law is extensive, but his management experience means his guidance is always tailored to our wider business interests.”

Richard Walker
The Belle Epoque