99 percent of workers have not read their contracts

2015-09-22 Philip posted:

Only one worker in 166 has ever read their contract and understood its contents, according to a new report.

The research, conducted by Protecting.co.uk, has found a shocking “ignorance” when it comes to staff knowing their rights. The report asked 1,000 employees whether or not they had ever read their employment contract in full, to which just 0.6% admitted they had. 93 claimed to have read part of the document, or skim read it. 909 of the 1,000 employees said that they had either never read the contract or couldn’t remember ever doing so.

This lack of understanding can have harsh consequences when disputes between employees and their employers arise. Often, misunderstandings which lead to dismissals could have been avoided if a worker had properly read and understood their contract.

As employment law specialists we encourage our business clients to have employment contracts written in easy to understand, clear language – it helps both parties to be able to comprehend what their rights and responsibilities are – especially restrictions on a worker’s post-employment activities.

The survey also revealed the top five employee disciplinary problems that could have been avoided had contracts been fully understood;

  • "Moonlighting" for other companies
  • Bringing the company into disrepute
  • Timeliness
  • Workplace behaviour
  • Misuse of company cars

As an employer you have a legal obligation to provide your employees with written terms and conditions of their employment within the first two months of their employment starting. A failure to do so could lead to an award of £1,900 against you in an Employment Tribunal.

If you are an employee and recently been offered a contract, we can advise you on its terms and if appropriate suggest how to go about negotiating changes.

Contact us to find out more about our employment contract services.

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