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Tag Archive

Contracts of employment: common errors and how to avoid them

Tempting though it might be to dish out the same contract of employment for new starters year after year, putting a little time into preparing your contracts could pay dividends in the longer term. Should you fall out with an employee, a clearly-worded contract that is fit for purpose for that individual and up-to-date can go a long way towards protecting your business.

Here are some some common mistakes and how to avoid them, as well as a couple of changes to watch out for from April 2020.

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Managing HR and Employment Law issues in your dental practice

The inherent difficulties of operating a practice day to day are, of course, substantial. One area that can often be neglected in the pursuit of superior quality standards and patient care is HR and employment law issues.

While this question may present no problems when all is running smoothly on the ‘Good Ship Dental Practice’, there is however a wealth of legal issues potentially lurking beneath the surface for the unprepared practice owner and associate alike. So what can go wrong?


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Variation of Contract: Implied Acceptance

The actual terms of one’s contract of employment can sometimes be an elusive thing to nail down. Many people are unaware that a contract can be altered without them ever expressly agreeing to such alterations being made and/or via implied custom and practice over a prolonged period of time.

Nevertheless such variations to a contract of employment are entirely possible and occur all the time. It is often only when both the employer and the employee need to consider what the current terms of the employment relationship are that issues previously lying dormant come to the fore.

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Why you should have clear employment contract terms

“You should have got that in writing”.

The above often belated advice is normally punctuated by the distinct sound of the recipient ‘kicking themselves’ for not getting an agreement from an employer expressly written out.

While the written contract is often the definitive word on the employer/employee relationship, agreements can still be varied by way of verbal assurances and dependent on how the contract was drafted there can sometimes be scope for argument as to the interpretation of a specific clause.

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Zero Hour Contracts: Menace of the worker or just practical?

The wider media has been abuzz recently over a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, which indicated that the number of individuals working under zero hours contracts is roughly four times the official estimates previously calculated by the Office of National Statistics.

The wildly differing figures have lit a fire under the government which has called for a review of the contracts, while union lobbies are seeking for them to be banned outright. So why then are these divisive contracts so prevalent in our society?

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Employer perceptions of employment law out of step with reality

A recent Government research survey appears to be at odds with many of the arguments the coalition has used to justify its reforms on employment law since coming to power.

The main thrust of the study entitled ‘Employer Perceptions and Impact of Employment Regulation’ is that many businesses view employment law as overly burdensome, while accepting that this view was mostly derived from a lack of understanding.

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Fixed term contracts and permanent employee status

Many industries make use of training schemes to assist in gaining affordable employees; however at what point does the trainee gain employee status? The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 (‘the Regulations’) set out that anyone employed under a succession of fixed-term contracts will become a permanent employee after four years “unless employment on a fixed term contract is objectively justified”.

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How important is a signed contract?

Most businesses, regardless of whether or not a Human Resources (HR) department exists will ensure that new employees receive an employment contract or at the very least some form of statement setting out their terms and conditions. Unfortunately not all businesses or HR personnel are as diligent at ensuring that the employee returns a signed copy of the agreement. 

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