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Every employer is required to give each employee / worker a written statement of particulars of certain terms of their employment. The majority of these particulars must be provided in a single document no later than the date their employment starts. The particulars include the following:
- name the employer and employee;
- the date when the employment began and the date on which the employeeâ€™s period of continuous employment began;
- any probationary period;
- the scale or rate of remuneration or method of calculating remuneration;
- the intervals at which remuneration is paid eg weekly, monthly;
- the benefits provided;
- the terms and conditions relating to hours of work, entitlement to holiday, incapacity due to sickness or injury, pensions, length of notice, job title; collective agreements;
- any training required to be undertaken or provided;
- certain information about applicable disciplinary and grievance procedures.
Any changes in the contractual terms or in other matters of which written particulars must be given must be the subject of a written statement given to the employee at the earliest opportunity and in any event no later than one month after the change.
If the employer fails to provide a written statement of particulars or to notify employees of changes, it could be liable for an award of between two to four weeksâ€™ salary if the employee successfully brings a claim for unfair dismissal.
Employment contracts may contain express provisions seeking to restrain the employee from soliciting clients or employees, or working for competing businesses after the employment has terminated. Whether such a provision would be upheld by the courts would depend on whether the restraint is reasonable in the interests of the parties. The employer will need to demonstrate that the restraint is no wider than is necessary to protect its legitimate business interests. In judging the reasonableness of the restraint, the courts will consider its nature, ambit (geography and proscribed actions) and duration.
Restrictive covenants should be carefully drafted with the benefit of legal advice to increase the likelihood of enforceability.
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Knight-Webb Solicitors have extensive experience of preparing and advising on Employment Contracts, policies and procedures, as well as restrictive covenants and confidentiality obligations.