It is advisable in the interests of certainty and to avoid disputes for the contract to be in writing and to expressly set out all of the essential terms of the employment. There is no prescribed form for a written contract.
NB the desirability of the following clauses will vary depending on whether the employer or the employee is being advised.
- Duration/notice period
- For senior/managerial/professional employees this is generally for a fairly long period. (6 months)
- For less skilled, this may be shorter but in accordance with the statutory minimum imposed by s.86 ERA.
- If there is no express term regarding notice, then a term is implied for ‘reasonable length’
- ‘Break Clause’-allows a fixed term contract to be lawfully ended before it’s expiry date.
- ‘Termination clause’-allows employer to end the employment without notice on the arising of a specified event (e.g. bankruptcy of employee)
- Duties and mobility
- Job title or brief explanation of role
- An employer will want to define duties widely.
- Time required for duties-for senior staff this will be without restriction whereas for junior staff it is usual to specify the hours to be worked.
- Qualification needed for the job or medical tests/examination to be passed.
- If no mobility clause is drafted, the courts are unlikely to imply one-it can be argued that these are by their nature discriminatory since women will find it more difficult to comply with the requirement to move since statistically they are more likely to be secondary earners.
- The degree of mobility must be necessary for business efficacy
- It must be operated reasonably by the employer.
- A breach of this by the employer may be a repudiatory reach of mutual trust and confidence (Skip hire Liverpool v Ahktar (1989))
- A breach of a reasonable mobility clause by the employee could be grounds for misconduct.