Reduce Disciplinary Issues – Require that staff read their contracts

Posted by Stephen on 11th November 2015

In this feature we consider the pitfalls of failing to ensure that all staff read and understand their employment contract.

Does your business have a process in place to make sure that all staff have read and understood their employment contract?

It is a legal requirement to issue all employees with a written statement of terms or a full employment contract that contains those terms. Accordingly most employers make sure that a contract is in place but few follow this up and make sure that the employee not only signs the contract but also reads it in full.

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However, research recently published by small business website www.smallbusiness.co.uk revealed that only 1 in 166 employees had actually read all of the terms in their employment contract.

93% of those surveyed claimed to have ‘scanned’ or ‘skimmed’ the contract. 56% of those surveyed were unable to locate their copy of their employment contract.

Of the companies surveyed a significant number of disciplinary matters related to trivial issues that could have been avoided if the employee had been aware of the restriction. Misuse of personal social media accounts during work time being a key issue.

The survey was conducted from a pool of 1000 employees across UK businesses and flags up how important it is to make sure that all of your employees read and understand their contract. Staff contracts can also be supported with an Employee Handbook or a series of policy documents covering key issues such as dress; use of social media;

A lack of knowledge or understanding of an employer’s restrictions is a key cause for disciplinary matters. However ignorance on the part of an employee is not a defence. For the employer there is a time cost to any disciplinary meeting.

By ensuring that all employees read their contract in full an employer can reduce the risk of staff breaching their contracts due to a lack of knowledge.

In the event that you do not have contracts in place with your employees then head over to our Employment contracts section where you will find a range of templates to cover your business’s staff contract needs.