I do tribunal audits on employment contracts and handbooks so that the company knows what needs to be updated, how much risk they are at, and whether the documents are really “fit for purpose”. Once they have that information, they can make an informed decision about whether they will be updating their paperwork themselves or outsourcing it (to me hopefully!).
Most companies that have been doing HR themselves have fairly basic contracts where a couple of clauses are either void or non-existent.
That doesn’t concern me unduly.
What does concern me are the ones I do where the organisations have been paying someone else to keep this paperwork up to date, be it a national organisation or an independent HR specialist. When the contract and handbook aren’t up to date, then it really is professional negligence to act as if they are.
Recent examples of out of date areas
- Verbal warnings still mentioned, although they were scrapped in 2009
- Maternity pay mentioned at 2007 rates (and this in a document that stated proudly at the bottom “reviewed 2012” – not quite sure they understood the meaning of the word reviewed!)
- Non-competition clauses still at the void level of 12 months
- Warnings being kept on file for 24 months or “as long as required”
- No intellectual property clauses, despite the industry they company was in needing them
- No restrictions on other employment
- And still having a retirement age of 65 stated, even though that was abolished in 2011 and this is now ageist and would lose them a discrimination case.
These mistakes may be in your contracts and handbook as well. So it does make sense to properly review them every year, and compare with other providers on a regular basis. But it applies to other areas of your business as well.
Are you sure that all your employment law suppliers are delivering what it says on the tin? Maybe you should go and check!