Employees have a right to a written statement of particulars on or before their first day of employment. There is a very specific list of elements that this must contain, with ACAS providing clarity for employers on best practice.
How Flexible Can an Employment Contract Be?
While the key components of the written statement are non-negotiable, how they are presented is up to you as the employer. The employment contract is where most employers include these components and this provides one of the first insights into the culture of an organisation for a new employee. The employee will be seeking to understand the expectations they can have of you as their new employer and, equally, your expectations of them.
Traditionally, the employment contract has been an extremely formal document using terminology we would not use in a normal discussion at work. The text has been presented as black font on a white background, a format that can be difficult to digest for neurodiverse employees. Research has shown that for neurodiverse people, using a sepia or pastel coloured background with dark coloured text can help make documents easier to process.
Some employers are starting to innovate, attempting to mirror their creative approaches to business within their employment contracts. Tony’s Chocolonely, a values driven chocolate company based in the Netherlands, has introduced what they call their ‘ticket of trust’ in place of a traditional contract of employment. While the specific provisions of the contract are not tailored to suit our legal system, the infographic, minimalist style gives an intriguing introduction to the organisation while still covering off the key components required of a written statement. One particular talking point, is the offer of unlimited annual leave.
While your organisation might not be quite ready for an infographic style or unlimited annual leave, it is important to ensure your contract is aligned to your current culture and written and presented in an accessible way. Don’t forget that if you wish to make changes to the terms and conditions of employment for existing employees, a consultation is likely to be required.