Employment contracts – are they worth the paper they’re written on?

So you’ve diligently issued contracts of employment to all your employees and are confident that everyone has an up to date statement of their terms and conditions.  However there are a couple of people who, despite numerous chases, will not return their signed contracts.  You are concerned that you cannot request they adhere to the terms of their contracts, as they have not accepted them.

Well we like to be able to give you good news now and again, and in this instance, it is not necessarily the case that you always need a signed contract.  Employees are deemed to have accepted their terms and conditions if they attend work, carry out the work, and accept payment for that work.

Of course, this equally means that you cannot disregard someone’s contractual entitlements if they have not signed a contract, so for example, paid sickness absence, if contained in your contracts, remains applicable in such a circumstance.

It is “cleaner” to have a signed contract on file, as amongst other things it proves that a contract was issued in the first place.  The above does not excuse your need to consult and try to reach agreement should you wish to alter contractual terms, however it may hopefully curb the administrative chasing for paperwork.


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