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90 seconds with Sue Fairbairn on… Just sign on the dotted line!

Your best time to negotiate the terms of your new contract is before you start. That’s when your negotiating position is strongest.

Starting a new job

This could be: the amount of notice to be given by each side, whether your bonus is included and if it’s stated to be discretionary or part of the contract and what restrictions your new employer is placing on you when you leave, in terms of you working for a competitor or taking clients with you. You may also want advice on clauses allowing your new employer to change your role, place of work or working hours. Once you have signed, it’s very hard to get things changed. So, do take advice and understand what you sign before putting pen to paper.

Moving on

If you are thinking of leaving or setting up your own business, it’s a good idea to check what you can and can’t do as regards approaching clients, taking staff with you and being clear as to what is confidential information that you can’t use. Getting this wrong can be expensive.

Growing the business

As a business, as you grow you will take on more staff and may find you need your contracts updating. It’s often a good idea to have one for more junior staff and a more detailed one for senior people, setting out their duties and obligations and putting in place protections for your business, if they leave. You may also want contracts for different types of people: self-employed consultants, part timers, zero hours staff or apprentices.

Letting staff go

Whether you’re an employee at risk of losing your job or a business needing to let someone go, the contract is the first thing to look at, to check start dates, notice periods and benefits.

This article was written by Sue Fairbairn

Please note the contents contained in this article are for general guidance only. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to specific matters.

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