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Martin Searle Solicitors

Case Study: Contracts & Handbooks For A Medium-Sized Printing Business

The situation

In 2006 Asif set up  Print-R-Us, a printing business in Crawley. He originally had 10 employees (8 printers and 2 administrative staff) and as demand grew, so did his workforce.

By 2010 Print-R-Us’ pay roll had increased to 60, including a number of support roles. This meant that he had to move to a larger warehouse.  In 2011 Print-R-Us grew to over 100 employees and the company opened a new office .

Lorna, a Talent Manager, was brought in to recruit another 50 staff. Lorna was tasked with recruiting manual staff, further administrative roles, technical change roles and also management roles. Lorna became aware that Asif’s practice was to send informal offer letters or emails to his staff, rather than legally compliant contracts. This meant that Asif had failed to comply with his legal obligations to existing staff – and more pressingly, Lorna did not have any formalised contracts to offer to the new recruits who needed to start quickly.

Lorna was also concerned that many of Asif’s policies were downloaded from the internet some years ago and were not fit for purpose.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

We discussed with Asif and Lorna the new roles they were recruiting for and advised what type of contract would be most suitable for each new job role.

We provided a series of template contracts which not only complied with basic employment rights, but also protected the business. For example, we included post-termination covenants to their sales people in order to protect the valuable contract work and also the online work.

We ensured that the contracts contained robust intellectual property clauses, particularly since Asif was entrusting his new recruits to design a business website and online products and market the company.

The contracts included suitable mobility clauses in case the European side of the business grew and staff needed to be deployed.

The new contracts also included garden leave clauses to ensure that Asif could send them home instead of coming to work in case there was a situation where an employee left on bad terms and posed a threat in terms of taking clients or customers to their new employer.

We advised Lorna on the different contracts and their individual clauses so that she could adapt them for each new recruit in a sensible and compliant manner. This kept the business’ costs in the recruitment process to a minimum.

We also helped the company to produce a Staff Handbook, which set out best practice policies covering sickness, holiday and other common situations.  We also agreed to provide training to Asif’s management team, and Lorna, on basic employment law so they could understand the relevance of these policies in their Staff Handbook.

Finally, we worked closely with Asif and Lorna to roll-out the contracts and their Handbook to existing employees, in order to bring Print-R-Us up to date with their legal obligations.. We advised Lorna on how to  respond to their employees’ questions so that the roll-out was as smooth and stress-free as possible.

The result

The business’ 160+ employees all have legally compliant contracts which reflect their status in the company and the degree of protection that the business needs.

Print-R-Us have up-to-date policies on important matters to help them avoid Employment Tribunal claims. By including Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policies, Asif felt confident that he could avoid serious issues – and with a more robust disciplinary and capability policy he felt better equipped to deal with any misconduct or under-performance.

Most importantly, managers understood the Handbook and they felt able to deal with a number of common problems. They also understood in what type of situations they needed to take advice from HR.

To find out how we can help you with contracts and handbooks, contact us today on 01273 609911, or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk.

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