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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.

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Some of our Google reviews

5 star review  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
November 14, 2019

5 star review  I instructed Gillian Patch of Patch Law who is a Grade A Solicitor during the Pandemic/Lockdown. I always check the SRA website to check how long someone is qualified for before I instruct them to ensure they are regulated. She was made aware of my personal restrictions in leaving my house. Several documents were sent to her and due to her extensive experience she was able to identify the relevant documents. She was also able to respond remotely in a tight timescale and there were no delays in her carrying out my instructions as a Client despite probably being very busy dealing with other Clients. She acted in the best interest of the Client by considering both the financial issues of leaving and the practical issues of leaving but also recognised the difficulties for a Client not being able to see a Solicitor in-person and the trust needed in the Solicitor-Client relationship. Instructions were provided remotely email and telephone and Geography was not a problem in terms of acting in her professional capacity. It was easier to discuss issues over telephone given that when I do go out I am conscious of wearing a face mask and that does create a barrier to communication. During the correspondence she was able to provide an objective opinion on the issues. There is often a saying an individual cannot be their own Doctor, the same is true an individual cannot be their own Lawyer. Your not objective on your own life. Having extensive experience myself with Solicitors I tried to keep the Legal costs to a minimum by responding quickly but also ensuring everything that needed to be covered was covered.

thumb Jessica Winter
July 14, 2020

5 star review  Gillian is professional and knowledgeable whilst being empathetic. She ensured the details that were important to me were addressed and resolved. I would highly recommend the services of Patch Law for employment issues.

thumb Claire Turner
December 5, 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

5 star review  I instructed Gillian Patch of Patch Law who is a Grade A Solicitor during the Pandemic/Lockdown. I always check the SRA website to check how long someone is qualified for before I instruct them to ensure they are regulated. She was made aware of my personal restrictions in leaving my house. Several documents were sent to her and due to her extensive experience she was able to identify the relevant documents. She was also able to respond remotely in a tight timescale and there were no delays in her carrying out my instructions as a Client despite probably being very busy dealing with other Clients. She acted in the best interest of the Client by considering both the financial issues of leaving and the practical issues of leaving but also recognised the difficulties for a Client not being able to see a Solicitor in-person and the trust needed in the Solicitor-Client relationship. Instructions were provided remotely email and telephone and Geography was not a problem in terms of acting in her professional capacity. It was easier to discuss issues over telephone given that when I do go out I am conscious of wearing a face mask and that does create a barrier to communication. During the correspondence she was able to provide an objective opinion on the issues. There is often a saying an individual cannot be their own Doctor, the same is true an individual cannot be their own Lawyer. Your not objective on your own life. Having extensive experience myself with Solicitors I tried to keep the Legal costs to a minimum by responding quickly but also ensuring everything that needed to be covered was covered.

thumb Jessica Winter
July 14, 2020

5 star review  Gillian is professional and knowledgeable whilst being empathetic. She ensured the details that were important to me were addressed and resolved. I would highly recommend the services of Patch Law for employment issues.

thumb Claire Turner
December 5, 2019

5 star review  I used Patch Law to help me with a Schedule of Loss needed for a Tribunal hearing They were very speedy about gathering all the info they needed and I had phone calls to clarify details. I felt supported and reassured and received guidance from Gillian as to where I might gauge any offer made to me by the Respondent. All in all a good experience in what has been a stressful time for me.

thumb Caroline Hobbs
June 8, 2020


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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.