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Help for small firms

The new employee's contract: A step-by-step guide

The new employee's contract - Useful tools: Real-life situation

You're delighted with the new hairdresser you're taking on. You give her a phone call and talk through the terms of her employment. You chat about her pay and hours, and mention that she will need to work every other Saturday.

But after a couple of weeks she asks you why she isn't working every Saturday. She points out that it's the busiest day in the salon and the best opportunity for her to develop her reputation. She thought this was part of the deal you agreed.

What happens next?

You've now got a new employee who is unhappy over your misunderstanding and you've got yourself into a tricky situation. Verbally agreed terms are legally binding, but, of course, they are hard to prove. Even so, you didn't want to end up in a dispute - you want happy staff who will help grow your business.

You may now have to negotiate with your new employee because you want to keep her - she's a talented hairdresser who should bolster your salon.

What you should have done is put the terms and conditions in writing before she started - preferably outlining these in the letter offering her the job. Also, did you give enough thought to the question of Saturday working before you took her on? It might have been better to have been flexible about this part of the contract.

Remember that, in law, your new employee has to have their terms and conditions in writing within two months of starting work in a document called a Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment.

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