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Blog  »  June 2017  »  How can I introduce contracts to existing employees? - Blog
Jun 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

How can I introduce contracts to existing employees?

A recent survey showed that 60% of employers in Ireland do not provide contracts of employment to their staff. This is an alarmingly high figure considering two very important facts: firstly it is a legal requirement, and secondly, the cost of non-compliance can be extortionate. So why do employers take that risk? Here are some of the explanations employers gave:

• Our employees have been with us for years, we don’t need to worry about contracts.
• I only have 4 employees; I don’t need to provide contracts.
• We’re a very small company, I cannot afford the expense.
• Employees will think we are trying to bring in more rules and won’t trust the good relationship we have built with them over the years.

No matter what your reasoning behind not having contracts of employment in place, under the Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994–2014 you are obliged to provide a written contract of employment to a new staff member no later than 2 months after their commencement. Furthermore, the cost of non-compliance (whether from an inspection from the WRC or from a staff grievance) can be crippling, especially for SME’s.

Introducing contracts to already existing staff can be a daunting task to some employers. We have compiled 4 simple steps to follow if you have decided that the time has come to roll out contracts.

1) Hold a staff meeting

Bring all of your staff together at once to inform them of your decision to introduce contracts into the workplace. Give a brief overview of what is contained in the contract and explain why you are doing it, whether it is to ensure that the workplace is compliant, promoting consistency and compliance or both. Take any general questions your staff may have.

2) Distribute the documents

Once you have drawn up contracts for each staff member print two copies of each and deliver both copies to the appropriate staff member. Ask the staff member to review and sign both copies and return one copy within a reasonable time frame, generally 1-2 weeks.

3) Be open to taking questions

Good communication between employers and staff is crucial for a good relationship, especially at this stage. Be available to your employees so as they can ask any questions or raise any concerns they may have. Answer all questions openly and honestly. Refusing to have that discussion may come across as defensive and will heighten distrust in employees.

4) Collect and file

Collect one copy of the signed contracts from each employee and be sure to file away in a safe and secure location for future reference. Instruct the employee to also keep their signed copy in a secure location.

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Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts