Contracts and policies – are they needed?

One of the common questions that we often get asked is do I need a contract, do I need policies and procedures in place.

Many business owners struggle to see the need for them as they have always got away without them previously. They will say “oh I don’t need HR, I just sort it out myself, if I’ve got a problem with an employee and I need to get rid of them, I’ll just take them aside and have a chat.

If you’re lucky, then you may get away with it and you may operate for years without a problem, but trust me, that really is more luck than judgement.

The answer to the question is absolutely yes! You do need a contract of employment and you do need policies and procedures in place.


  • It is a legal requirement to issue a written statement containing terms and conditions of employment given to you employee within 2 months of their start date
  • Whether you issue a contract and policies and procedures in place or not then a contract still exists. By offering your employees work and then paying them means that you have entered into a contract. The employee is protected by statutory legislation. So why not make sure you have terms that suit you?
  • Many Business owners are totally unaware that there are implied terms of the contract that exist. Just because it’s not written down doesn’t mean you cannot breach an implied term of the contract.
  • Would you enter into any agreement that carries legal requirements without having a contract in place? If you have any sense the answer is no!
  • An employment agreement is a two-way relationship. How can you expect your new employee to know what rules they need to comply with unless you expressly tell them?
  • When an employment relationship does go wrong (and unfortunately they do!) You need to make sure you have relevant and robust policies in place to allow you to deal with the problem. Without them you are open to a world of breach of contract and failure to follow process claims that can turn a minor dispute into a massive problem.
  • There’s always one! That person that identifies the gap in your company’s policies and takes advantage only to defend themselves by stating that they had no idea it wasn’t the right thing to do as they haven’t seen a policy on it!

So, yes you need contracts and policies and procedures! Do you need to spend months developing them, spending thousands of pounds? No, you need to ensure that they are relevant for your business and our advice is to keep them as simple as possible. Don’t have a policy for the sake of having a policy!

At Harwood HR Solutions we can resolve this problem for you by either. Whether you want us to quote to ensure you are covered off on a one-off project or whether you want this service included free of charge when you sign up to a very affordable retained package we can get it done!


Looking for an insightful and informative read on the world of HR? Look no further than Harwood HR blogs!

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