For those of you on your sun loungers employment law may not be currently uppermost in your mind. For others however the need to generate seasonally relevant comments on employment law issues continues unabated. Just like Christmas Parties in December and Pre-nups in February, as the bank holiday weekend looms, a review of the weekend's business press will tackle that thorny issue of whether staff can be forced to work Bank Holidays. This is not however one of those pieces.
What does seems clear is that holiday reflections in August can be matched by a spate of job hunting in September with Autumn being a traditionally strong period for recruitment. As someone who spends much of her time dealing with the fall out from employment disputes, and without wishing to dampen anyone's job seeking enthusiasm, a little more time at the start might avoid some of these problems.
Finding a new job is a bit like a new love affair. Certainly in the genuine excitement of finding a new job - even senior executives can simply rush to sign up. After all no-one is ever going to refer to this again right? Wrong. They are legally binding contracts, not wish lists. Sign in haste and you may find when things go wrong, or you want to leave, that you do not like what you have agreed to. Obviously(!) there is no substitute for taking legal advice before you complete the negotiation process, however, particular pitfalls include:
All of these pitfalls can be avoided if they are raised upfront and, specifically, before the agreement is signed. Individuals may fear that an offer will be withdrawn if they "make a fuss". From my experience this is unlikely to happen certainly at a senior executive level. Many employers will expect negotiation and do not necessarily expect the candidate to accept the first offer they are given. After all if you cannot promote and protect yourself how can you promote and protect your new employer!
And for those of you still wondering about bank holidays....well the answer is it depends. There is legal entitlement to receive 5.6 working weeks a year but this may or may not include bank holidays. The answer, as always, is in the detail which in this case means the contract either oral or in writing. A formal agreement that the employee is willing to work on Bank Holidays is always best. Now get back to that Pina Colada ... September will be here soon enough.
For further information on employment contracts, holiday entitlements or any other employment related queries contact Catherine Wilson on 01274 377659.