Contract Of Employment

Kervin & Barnes’ lawyers are highly experienced in all aspects of employment contracts. If you have a contract of employment query, please give us a call on 0203 178 5360. Alternatively, click here to contact us by another method.

As a specialist employment law boutique, we regularly advise both employees and employers on contracts of employment. We are also able to advise on handbooks, bonus schemes (compliant with FCA- and PRA-regulation), restrictive covenant agreements and any individual policies or procedures including those that are bespoke to your industry or company.

Wherever you are in the UK, our experienced employment lawyers can help you with your contract of employment. If you have nothing in writing, a contract of employment is essential to guard against hidden pitfalls and difficulties in the employment relationship.

Employers ­

Why do you need a written contract of employment in the first place? Can’t you just rely on an offer letter and a “gentleman’s handshake”?

Answer: No. The law says you have to provide certain details (including, amongst other things, pay, hours, job title and place of work) in one single document. This is sometimes called “terms and conditions of employment”. It’s not necessarily the same as a contract of employment, but it’s a very good idea to set out in that document all the other terms that you want to be able to enforce and that you expect to be bound by.

For instance:

  • If you don’t have a contract of employment that gives you the right to put your employees on garden leave, you would be acting unlawfully if you asked them to remain at home after they had resigned.
  • Once someone has resigned or you have given them notice, you might want them to leave straight away, instead of working their notice;­ if you don’t have a contract of employment that gives you the right to pay them in lieu of notice (PILON), you would be acting unlawfully if you asked them to leave straight away.

In both these scenarios, you’d be acting in breach of contract and you wouldn’t be able to rely on any express restrictions in the contract that might have protected your business after they’ve left. And you want to be able to set out those restrictions (often referred to as “restrictive covenants“) in detail so that your employees can’t poach your staff or customers after they leave, or set up a competing business next door.

Far too often, we see the outcome when employers have just taken a contract of employment or two from previous companies they’ve worked in, and put the contracts of employment together without really appreciating what their new business needs and why certain clauses are or aren’t helpful. Our team at Kervin & Barnes can draft a suite of documents, from a really basic contract of employment to a fully-comprehensive executive service agreement – plus a handbook with all the policies and procedures you’d need ­ tailored to your organisation.

If you’ve got a contract of employment and your employee or ex-employee is in breach of its terms, you may be able to secure a High Court injunction to prevent any further damage to your business ­ and our solicitors have recent experience in helping clients to do so.

We also provide a service whereby we review your current contracts and/or handbook in order to ensure it is up-to-date with current law and modern working practices. As employment law is ever-changing, a regular check should assist with your compliance and make life easier for business managers and HR departments.

Employees ­

Why would you want a written contract of employment? Again, it’s to promote certainty. You have the right to certain basic information about pay and conditions, but if you want to be able to rely on different arrangements or “custom and practice”, you’re much better off if everything is set out in black and white in a contract of employment.

If you’re just about to start a new job and want to be sure that you are clear what the provisions in your contract of employment mean for you, or if your employer has just asked you to sign up to new contractual provisions, Kervin & Barnes’ solicitors can review your contract of employment and advise you on anything that’s unusual or appears unreasonable. We have expertise in this area and it is common to negotiate re-drafts of employment contracts, service agreements, bonus schemes, incentive plans and other side agreements. Indeed some contracts will expressly state that the employee has taken legal advice before signing; and that is an opportunity to make sure the drafting is in your favour.

If you think your employer has breached your contract of employment (sometimes called “constructive dismissal“), or if you’ve left and your ex-employer is suggesting you are the one who is in breach, we can advise you on the best strategy to resolve your difficulties, whether that’s in the High Court, County Court or Employment Tribunal.

Whether you are an employer or an employee, the team at Kervin & Barnes can help you with your contract of employment.

For a confidential chat – call our employment lawyers (experts in contracts of employment) on 0203 178 5360 or, alternatively, click here to contact us by another methodWe are based in Mayfair and would be happy to meet with you to advise you on your employment contract, service agreement, handbook, bonus scheme or other incentive arrangement.