That’s right. According to current legislation, it’s really easy to get caught out. There’s a piece of legislation called the Employment Rights Act 1996 which states that an employee has to expressly agree in writing to you making such deductions from their pay before you can do so. As you know, computers and other company equipment can be very expensive to repair or replace and unless you have it in writing and agreed by the employee then you can’t get your money back.
Employment contracts are an area of business which sometimes gets overlooked but what you have to ask yourself is, if you were going into a business venture, you would have terms of business which outline what is required of you and your relationship with your client so why wouldn’t you do the same with your employees? In both instances, they lay out the working relationship and how the business arrangement will operate.
It is a legal requirement that employees have a statement of their employment terms within their first 2 months of working for you. There are specifics that need to be included in the contract such as:
- Names of both parties (employer and employee)
- Job title or a brief job description
- The date when your employment began
- The pay arrangements – how much and how an employee will get paid
- The hours of work – however, the hours cannot exceed the 48-hour per week as specified by the Working Time Regulations, (unless the employee has signed a voluntary opt-out from the Regulations).
- Place of work (if based in more than one place it should say this along with your address)
- Sick pay arrangements
- Notice periods – for both the employer and employee which will be impacted by how long the employee works for you
- Information about disciplinary and grievance procedures
- Any collective agreements that affect your employment terms or conditions
- Pensions and pension schemes – from 1 October 2012 companies will be expected to be implementing pension schemes.
- If your employee is not in a permanent role, how long their employment is expected to continue, or if they are a fixed term worker the date their employment will end.
Whilst this is the legal standpoint, it’s important to note that if you don’t have a written statement of particulars in place, and an employee takes you to an Employment Tribunal then you could be fined for hundreds of pounds when the cost of producing this simple document is a fraction of the price. You can safeguard your business by having a written statement of particulars in place which supports your business goals and protects your business interests. Don’t get caught out!