A short introduction to UK employment law for SME’s
Employers in England and Wales are required to give employees whose employment is to continue for more than one month a “written statement of particulars of their employment”. This information is commonly included in an employment contract. The clauses which are required pursuant to the Employment Rights Act 1996 include:
- The level of pay (or the method of calculating it) and the intervals at which the employee will receive payment;
- The hours the employee will be required to work;
- Holiday entitlement and holiday pay;
- The employee’s job title, or a brief description of the work;
- The length of notice which the employee is obliged to give and entitled to receive to terminate the employment;
- The employee’s place of work;
- Information relating to pensions and pension schemes; and,
- Information on disciplinary and grievance procedures.We recommend that our clients include additional clauses in their contracts of employment to further protect their business. Examples of such clauses include:
- Additional protection
- Intellectual Property – Provisions for the rights to anyintellectual property created by an employee to be the property of the Employer;
- Confidential Information – Clauses restraining an employee, both during and upon termination of their employment, from divulging confidential and commercially sensitive information to any person, company or organisation unless expressly permitted to do so by the employer.
- Restrictive covenants – clauses restraining an employee, following the termination of their employment, from enticing clients and/or employees away from their ex-employer, or working for a company which is competition with their ex-employer for a specified period, (ordinarily between 3-6 months).
- If seeking to enforce such provisions employers have to be able to show a legitimate proprietary interest that is appropriate to protect, and show that the protection sought is no more than is reasonable having regard to the interests of the parties and the public interest.
- Garden Leave clause – Such a clause is commonly invoked when an employee has tendered their resignation. The employee who has tendered his or her resignation remains an employee for their notice period and are paid in the usual way; but they are not required to carry out work, unless specifically instructed to do so by their employer. “Garden leave” describes the traditional view that during this period senior employees would be tending their garden at home.
- The aim of garden leave is to keep employees out of the market place long enough for any information they have to go out of date, or to enable that employee’s successor to establish themselves, particularly with customers.
- Warranty confirming eligibility to work in the UK – A clause containing a warranty from the employee that they are eligible and entitled to work in the UK.
- Reasonable changes – Although an employment contract is legally binding between employer and employee, a clause may be included which permits the employer to make “reasonable” changes to the terms of the contract (such as minor administrative matters which will not fundamentally alter the terms of the contract) without the employee’s specific consent.Employment law services from DKLM LLPIf an employee raises a claim against your business we can advise you on the most commercial and cost effective way of resolving that dispute.Call us today on 020 7549 7872We look forward to working with you.Philip Henson, Partner and Head of Employment LawTelephone: 020 7549 7872 DKLM LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. ©DKLM LLP.www.dklm.co.uk
- Disclaimer: This update is published by DKLM LLP. Please note that the information and any commentary on the law contained in this update is provided free of charge for information purposes only. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. DKLM LLP accepts no responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this update. Further specialist advice should be taken before relying on the contents of this summary. No part of this summary may be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the prior permission of DKLM LLP.
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