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We are recognised by the recommendation website Three Best Rated as one of the top three employment law firms in Bristol.

Patch Law

Station Road Workshops
Station Road
Kingswood
Bristol
BS15 4PJ

Patch Law is a law firm authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Should I Sign An Employment Contract?

Apart from browsing potential summer holidays to book, job hunting is another popular January activity that you might be doing.

In the month of resolutions and fresh starts, when swept up with the enthusiasm of looking for and embracing a new challenge, it can be tempting to overlook some of the detail, so as not to focus on the negatives, or risk souring the relationship with a new employer at the outset.

As a result, the hundreds of employment contracts we look at every year are usually for clients when they are leaving a job; it’s much less often that we are asked to look at a contract before it is signed.

Querying (or even reading closely) clauses of a contract of employment, particularly those restricting your activities after you leave (post termination restrictive covenants), is something that few seem open to doing.

I was therefore really pleased to help a client recently who approached us for advice before signing a new contract.  In a role where Intellectual property was key and reasonable restrictions would apply when she eventually moved on, it was important to consider what she was handing over and committing to with the new employer:  she was able to raise – quite amicably – a couple of points with the new employer to have the contract amended slightly to reflect the understanding of both parties.  Contracts are usually the first port of call in a dispute, and if there is any lack of clarity in the contract that only compounds any disagreements.

From the employer’s perspective, issuing almost identical contracts, with standard ‘off the shelf’ restrictions to employees carrying out very different roles, is unlikely to be suitable.  This then runs the risk of any restrictions not being enforceable at all if push comes to shove later on.

A little like ‘pre-nups’ before marriage, too much discussion about contracts at the outset may seem the employment equivalent of unromantic, but, as experienced employment lawyers, we have seen far too many contract problems, which often result in lengthy and costly disputes.

As an employee, read your new contract carefully before signing, and take advice if you are not confident that you completely understand its contents, for both during and after your employment.  Remember, you may leave for a variety of reasons, at a time of your choosing – or not – after 1 month or after 20 years.

For an employer it’s time well-spent to look at the contracts of all staff, and take specialist advice on whether they are compliant, enforceable and adequately protect the business.

Get in touch

If you need help with an employment law issue then please don't hesitate to contact us. An initial enquiry is free and without obligation.

Call us on 0117 290 0905 or fill out the form below and we will contact you within 24 hours.

When your form is submitted you will receive an automatic email from Patch Law confirming receipt.

Why choose us?

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  • Consistently Positive
    Client Feedback

Some of our Google reviews

review rating 5  Exceptional service throughout. Gillian's expertise, professionalism and personal touch are invaluable. She was so caring and helpful to me during a difficult time, I felt in safe hands. Very happy with the outcome and I can't recommend her highly enough.

thumb Janice Rumming
6/10/2019

review rating 5  I found both Gillian and Alex from Patch Law a joy to work with. The service provided by both was timely and professional, with Gillian spending a lot of time explaining to me the meaning of various clauses of a legal document requiring my signature. I would not hesitate in using Patch Law again and would recommend their service to others wholeheartedly.

thumb Bob Screech
11/14/2019

review rating 5  Very easy to deal with, efficient in returning calls and emails. Were very professional and helped me to understand the implications of the settlement agreement I was signing in plain English.

thumb Pete Wonnacott
11/14/2019

Should I Sign An Employment Contract?

Apart from browsing potential summer holidays to book, job hunting is another popular January activity that you might be doing.

In the month of resolutions and fresh starts, when swept up with the enthusiasm of looking for and embracing a new challenge, it can be tempting to overlook some of the detail, so as not to focus on the negatives, or risk souring the relationship with a new employer at the outset.

As a result, the hundreds of employment contracts we look at every year are usually for clients when they are leaving a job; it’s much less often that we are asked to look at a contract before it is signed.

Querying (or even reading closely) clauses of a contract of employment, particularly those restricting your activities after you leave (post termination restrictive covenants), is something that few seem open to doing.

I was therefore really pleased to help a client recently who approached us for advice before signing a new contract.  In a role where Intellectual property was key and reasonable restrictions would apply when she eventually moved on, it was important to consider what she was handing over and committing to with the new employer:  she was able to raise – quite amicably – a couple of points with the new employer to have the contract amended slightly to reflect the understanding of both parties.  Contracts are usually the first port of call in a dispute, and if there is any lack of clarity in the contract that only compounds any disagreements.

From the employer’s perspective, issuing almost identical contracts, with standard ‘off the shelf’ restrictions to employees carrying out very different roles, is unlikely to be suitable.  This then runs the risk of any restrictions not being enforceable at all if push comes to shove later on.

A little like ‘pre-nups’ before marriage, too much discussion about contracts at the outset may seem the employment equivalent of unromantic, but, as experienced employment lawyers, we have seen far too many contract problems, which often result in lengthy and costly disputes.

As an employee, read your new contract carefully before signing, and take advice if you are not confident that you completely understand its contents, for both during and after your employment.  Remember, you may leave for a variety of reasons, at a time of your choosing – or not – after 1 month or after 20 years.

For an employer it’s time well-spent to look at the contracts of all staff, and take specialist advice on whether they are compliant, enforceable and adequately protect the business.

Some of our Google reviews

review rating 5  I found both Gillian and Alex from Patch Law a joy to work with. The service provided by both was timely and professional, with Gillian spending a lot of time explaining to me the meaning of various clauses of a legal document requiring my signature. I would not hesitate in using Patch Law again and would recommend their service to others wholeheartedly.

thumb Bob Screech
11/14/2019

review rating 5  Very easy to deal with, efficient in returning calls and emails. Were very professional and helped me to understand the implications of the settlement agreement I was signing in plain English.

thumb Pete Wonnacott
11/14/2019

review rating 5  I would highly recommend Gillian to anyone in need of employment advice. She offers a highly professional as well as caring service, listening sensitively to understand a person's individual circumstances and offering experienced and well-considered advice. She manages the process through very attentively which leaves you feeling that you are in very good hands. Her fees are very competitive and represent very good value for money.

thumb Helen England
10/23/2019


Three Best Rated website logo
We are recognised by the recommendation website Three Best Rated as one of the top three employment law firms in Bristol.