Are you an SME needing help with your Employment Contracts and Staff Handbook?

What information must be included in an employment contract?

Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 requires employers to give employees a “written statement of particulars of employment” not later than 2 months of the employee commencing their employment. Section 1(4) lists the information that must be included. However, some information can, and usually is, given in a Staff Handbook.

What information is usually included in a Staff Handbook?

A Staff Handbook will usually include a number of written policies. For the most part, policies set out in the Staff Handbook are there as a matter of good practice, to set out the standards expected of all employees, to assist running the business, and to reduce legal risk by making sure employees and managers understand the legal rights and responsibilities inherent in the employment relationship. Typical handbooks will include policies on the following:-

  • Disciplinary procedures
  • Grievance procedures
  • Health and safety
  • Equal opportunities
  • Data protection
  • Bribery
  • Social media
  • IT policy


We can produce other policies and tailor them to suit the needs of your business.

At Hastings and Co we offer fixed fee packages for employers.

For the smaller business employing between 1-15 employees we would prepare your Staff Handbook and contracts of employment for a fixed fee of £400 plus VAT.

For businesses with more than 15 employees we can offer a sliding scale fixed fee service.

Need a FREE review of your current contract of employment?

It is important to remain compliant with the ever changing legal requirements as an employer.  Your business may have had contracts of employment drafted some time ago which need reviewing, or you may have drafted contracts ‘in-house’ and are worried they are not ‘fit for purpose’.

Hastings and Co will be happy to review your current contract for free giving you peace of mind. If there are any areas for concern then we will advise you of the changes required.   You are under no obligation  to instruct us to undertake these.

We do however offer competitive fixed fees for the preparation of documents if they are deemed necessary.

If you require advice relating to any of the above please call 01621 876031






Who can I instruct to advise on a Settlement Agreement

Hastings and Co Solicitors specialise in Settlement Agreements


What are Settlement agreements?

A Settlement  Agreement is an agreement between an employer and an employee. Settlement agreements are an offer from the employer of financial compensation or another incentive to an employee, which is usually above and beyond what you would be entitled to upon termination of your  contract.

When does an employer offer a settlement agreement?

Your employer will offer you a settlement agreement when they wish to terminate your employment. The onus is on the employer to adequately compensate you for the loss of your job. Once you sign and enter into this agreement you will have no legal rights to claim against your employer at a later date for any further financial reward or compensation.

What am I entitled to in a Settlement Agreement?

It is essential that you seek expert legal advise prior to signing any offer made to you by your employer. Individuals are often  surprised to learn of what they may or may not be entitled to.

At Hastings and Co, Liam is an experienced employment solicitor having provided advice to employees regarding settlement agreements for over 17 years.  Liam will quickly identify what you are entitled to and if appropriate will negotiate better terms for you as an employee before you agree to sign the agreement.

Liam will explain everything simply, in plain English so that you will be confident in his advice at this crucial point in time. He will negotiate the best compensation package for you depending upon your circumstances, should the original offer not be in your best interest.

How much will it cost me to instruct a solicitor to advise on a settlement agreement?

It is a key feature of Settlement Agreements that the employee must receive independent legal advice and it is usual for the employer to pay for that advice. This is usually a pre-determined set fee stated within the settlement agreement itself. Liam would simply charge the employers direct for his services.

Once I have signed a settlement agreement can I make a claim against my employer for compensation

The simple answer is, no. Once the agreement has been signed the only action you can take against your employer is to enforce the agreement itself.

Claims for additional compensation made at a later date cannot be made under any circumstances which is why you seek advice at Hastings and co.

For simple, friendly expert advice call 01621 876031


National Minimum Wage Increase

On April 1st 2017, the UK National Wage will be increasing

  • For Apprentices the rate will increase from £3.40 to £3.50
  • For those under the age of 18 the rate will increase from £4.00 to £4.05
  • For those aged 18-20 the rate will increase from £5.55 to £5.60
  • For those aged 21-24 the rate will increase from £6.95 to 7.05
  • For those aged 25 and over the rate will increase from £7.20 to £7.50

Hastings & Co Solicitors are based in Maldon, Essex and specialise in Employment Law. Please telephone 01621 876 031 or email for advice.


Hastings & Co Solicitors successfully defend constructive dismissal claim

We recently acted for an employer in successfully defending a claim for constructive dismissal.

The facts briefly are that the employer confronted the employee about some allegations which if proven would have likely amounted to gross misconduct. The employee went off sick for several months before resigning and making a claim for constructive dismissal. The employee alleged that the employer was aggressive and oppressive in the manner in which the employee was confronted.

Constructive dismissal occurs where the employer commits a fundamental breach of contract and the employee resigns in response to the breach. It is a key feature of a constructive dismissal claim that the employee must not affirm the contract and waive the breach of contract. This means that an employee wishing to claim constructive dismissal should resign immediately and any delay could be detrimental to the claim.

In this case the determined that the employee had affirmed the contract by not resigning immediately and consequently the constructive dismissal claim failed.

Hastings & Co Solicitors are based  in Chelmsford and Maldon and specialise in Employment Law. For further information contact Liam Hastings on 01621 876 031 or email

Disclaimer: this blog only gives a brief overview of the law and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice.