Establishing new care resources is a sensitive and busy time for all involved. Once it is decided to offer a job to a candidate, the employment relationship begins.
The employment contract sets out obligations that an employer has to the employee and vice versa. It helps everyone to understand expectations.
Legally, anyone who is employed or is a worker is entitled to a Written Statement of Particulars, under the Employment Rights Act (ERA) 1996. This document must contain specific information and be issued before day one of employment. Further information may be included setting out more than the ERA requirements for the Written Statement. It is normal for such a document to be referred to as a contract of employment, or employment contract.
The Benefits of Employment Contracts
Employment contracts are designed to be a clear agreement on the terms of the employment relationship. When the contract is read and signed by all parties, they enter into a legally binding working partnership. A contract is deemed to be accepted if issued and not signed, but the employee continues to work, which implies that they have accepted the terms.
The contract aims to protect both the individual’s and the employer’s interests and is normally the first document referred to if there is a breakdown in the working relationship. All signatories should keep a copy of the document and any variations to the contract. A contract can also provide the employer and employee with a sense of security. It is a document that can be referred to if they feel that the terms are not being fully met.
Zero Hours Contracts
There are different types of contracts, including fixed term and zero-hours contracts. Each contract may benefit both the employer and the employee if the relationship is planned and used correctly.
Under a zero-hours contract, the employer does not guarantee to provide work, but it is assumed that the employee will be provided with work on a flexible basis. A zero-hours contract may be used for people who are employed, and who will enjoy the same rights as those who are employed contractual hours.
Bank or Casual Workers
In the care sector, as in many other sectors, casual staff are used to cover fluctuations in work. For instance, more staff may be required during school holidays when caring for a child. The rules governing the use of bank workers need to be carefully set out. Embrace HR take pride in helping their clients understand these rules. We draft agreements between workers and the client so that each understands their obligations.
Do Self Employed Support Workers Need Contracts?
The self-employed have Contracts for Services, which are different to an employment contract. There are certain rules to be followed for the self-employed and these can be found on the HRMC website. Embrace HR would strongly advise that a Contract for Services is drawn up as there are benefits to all parties and it can prevent misunderstandings.
A contract is a commitment, and it sets in place a relationship that is important in any setting, not least when caring for vulnerable adults or children.
What Should a Contract Include?
The minimum Written Particulars must include the employer’s name, the employee’s name, the start date, the date that continuous employment began and the job title (we also recommend a job description).
It must detail the employer’s address, the places or addresses where the employee will work, working hours, and working pattern (including how the working pattern might change). Details of pay, holiday and holiday pay, sick leave and other paid leave are included, as well as mandatory training. Details of termination and length of a fixed-term contract are also part of the document.
A contract will often contain more detailed information, including disciplinary and grievance procedures, confidentiality clauses and privacy under data protection laws. As independent specialists in HR for the care sector, Embrace HR understands that a standard contract is not viable as each employer has different requirements.
We draft employment contracts, or bank agreements, in consultation with the Case Manager, Deputy and client/family, where required, so that the support worker, Personal Assistant or Buddy, are clear on the expectations. As the signed contract becomes legally binding, we ensure that it is compliant and meets the needs of all parties.
The terms of employment set out in a contract can change. It is advised that contracts are reviewed to check they remain relevant. We will maintain your employee records, especially when changes to employment law impact the care industry.