Contracts and Handbooks

Whether you have nothing in place or just need an expert review, our Employment Law specialists can carefully craft your employment contracts and employee handbooks to guarantee compliance and provide the flexibility you need as an employer. 

Up-to-date, flexible, robust. Whatever contract or policy you’re drawing up, make sure these essential documents work for you by getting them drafted by a legally-qualified professional.

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How we help

Carefully crafted, compliant employment documents

When it comes to employment contracts and HR policies, relying on poorly drafted, off-the-shelf templates rarely ends well, leaving your business unable to take action where necessary and potentially exposed to legal risk.

At Ellis Whittam, we can help you to ensure these cornerstone documents are fully fit for purpose and offer maximum protection for your organisation in any eventuality.

  • Tailored to company needs and internal processes
  • Manage different categories of workers with specific Contracts of Employment
  • Ensure compliance with an Employee Handbook of best-practice HR policies
  • Equip managers with process guides and letter templates from our Knowledge Hub, via MyEW
  • For immediate practical help, use our 24/7 advice line

Related Information


How to Change a Contract of Employment


Employer's Guide to Contracts, Handbooks and the Good Work Plan

HR policies


7 Reasons Employers Need an Employee Handbook

Reviewed and robust, with extra help if you need it

If your contracts and policies haven’t been updated in a while, chances are they’re not properly protecting your business interests. They may even be missing important information that means you’re not complying with the law, leaving you exposed.

As part of our Employment Law services, our team of highly-qualified legal experts will not only equip your business with all the documentation you need but will keep your contracts and policies under regular review, ensuring they reflect any major legal changes.

Plus, with access to our Employment Law advice line, you can uncomplicate any tricky contractual issues – and indeed any other employment-related issue – and get clarity on your legal obligations at any time.

Unrivalled expertise

We have 2.4 X the number of qualified solicitors than any of our larger competitors

Popular FAQs

Common contracts and handbooks queries and questions about our service, answered by our Employment Law and HR specialists.

What information should be included in an employment contract?

All written terms of employment have to provide a certain level of information to be compliant with legislation. Since the Good Work Plan came into force on 6 April 2020, the principal statement of employment terms must contain additional information. Download a full list of what needs to be included in an employment contract here.

What types of employment contract are there?

Permanent contracts, fixed-term contracts (either fixed by duration or a specified event), zero-hour contracts, contracts for workers and many more. Each will have its own specific requirements and it’s important to get them right to ensure your employee is on the correct type.

What policies should be included in an Employee Handbook?

There are no hard and fast rules but as a matter of best practice all handbooks should contain information on disciplinary and grievance procedures, absence management, holiday rules and entitlement, performance management, family friendly rights and policies, guidance on equal opportunities and data protection.

What are the risks of not having the right contracts in place?

Failing to provide an employee with a contract could lead to additional compensation being awarded to an employee who successfully makes another sort of claim against their employer. In addition, a number of practical problems could be caused by having incorrect contracts, such as paying too little (or too much) notice, getting holiday entitlement wrong and failing to protect legitimate business interests in the face of an employee leaving for a competitor.

I’m not sure whether my contracts are up to date or not. Can you help?

Absolutely. Employers often use the same contracts and policies for years, only realising they’re out of date when an issue arises. We can conduct a full MOT to assess any areas where they are outdated or fall short, then either replace or revamp them for maximum cover and effectiveness.

How often do HR policies need to be reviewed?

Whenever there are changes to UK employment legislation, such as the recent changes to bereavement leave or the Good Work Plan, it’s important to make sure your contracts, handbooks and policies are updated accordingly. We can take the pressure off by alerting you to any such changes and helping you to implement them in your documentation and practices.

Is there somewhere I can store these documents online?

Yes. Our online platform, MyEW, contains a secure area where you can house all your contracts, handbooks, policies and other important employment documents for easy access. That way, you can refer back to them at any time, ensure only correct versions are being used, and make them readily available to all new managers or HR personnel who might need them.

Where can I go for more advice on a particular employee issue?

If you’re not sure what you can and can’t do under your current contracts, thinking about changing an employee’s terms and conditions, or looking for guidance on carrying out a particular HR procedure, our fixed-fee Employment Law and HR service gives you unlimited access to dedicated experts for personalised, pragmatic advice.

Explore our fixed-fee Employment Law support

We do more than just contracts and handbooks...

Advice Line

Fast, pragmatic, commercial. Our Employment Law & HR advice line gives you and your managers access to truly unlimited advice on all of your people-related challenges, from the seemingly straightforward to the most complex.

What sorts of things can you advise on?

HR matters come with the territory when you run a business or manage an organisation and we’re here to help you through it all. Whether you’re battling absenteeism, struggling to manage an underperforming employee or need help navigating a complicated exercise like redundancy, we can walk you through the steps required to handle the situation appropriately.

Is everything dealt with through one team?

Yes. All of our advisers are qualified legal professionals or on the road to formal qualification, which means a full range of employee issues can be dealt with within your dedicated three-person team. In the event that you’re presented with an Employment Tribunal claim, we will conduct a full handover to our Litigation Team so that they are well equipped to defend you.

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Drafting Letters and Documents

From the most straightforward warning for poor attendance to complex grievance outcome letters and everything in between, our Employment Law solicitors can draft all your employment documents to save you valuable time and stress.

What sorts of documents can you draft?

Just about anything and everything you might need during the employment relationship. All of our advisers are qualified legal professionals or on the road to formal qualification, which means we can support you with a full spectrum of advice and documentation, from first written warnings to new contractual clauses, to a policy you might not have in your handbook, plus more complex legal documents like settlement agreements and redundancy outcome letters.

I’ve got a HR team and just want templates we can use. Do you have a resources bank?

Yes, our fixed-fee Employment Law and HR support includes full access to our Knowledge Hub, available through MyEW, which contains most of the templates we work from. If you have an internal HR team, you may prefer to access these and tailor them yourselves. However, for more complex cases, we would always suggest engaging with our legal advisers as it can be all too easy to word something in a way that leaves you exposed.

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Tired of classroom training, or unable to take time out? Raise awareness of best-practice around workplace issues and prevent HR headaches with our flexible, cost-effective e-Learning courses.

What types of courses are available?

Our ever-growing library of e-Learning courses currently covers over 100 topics, including HR courses such as Equality & Diversity, Sexual Harassment and Social Media Use; soft skills courses such as Communication, Leadership and Change Management; and compliance courses such GDPR, Anti-Money Laundering and the Bribery Act. We also offer an extensive range of Health & Safety courses, including Accident Reporting, Risk Assessment and First Aid. Download the full course catalogue.

How much do the courses cost?

All of our e-Learning courses are free for the first year when you purchase our Employment Law and HR or Health & Safety managed service. This means you’re not paying per head or per course, which not only keeps down but gives you complete cost certainty over your training expenses. This is particularly handy if your workforce is growing, as you won’t need to purchase extra licenses, giving you exceptional value for money.

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Legal Expenses Insurance

An optional component of our Employment Law and HR support, by underpinning our advice with LEI, you have maximum reassurance that your business is protected against unfair dismissal and other costly employee claims.

I’ve never had a claim before – why would I need to take LEI?

For the same reason you take out any insurance policy – to guard against the high cost of defending an Employment Tribunal claim. The premium cost is very low compared to the potential payout, especially as it covers the cost of representation as well as any potential compensation. You don’t have to have LEI, but it could significantly impact your bottom line if something goes wrong, given that the cost of even the most basic unfair dismissal claim could be £20-25,000 when legal costs are factored in. Unfortunately, the latest Tribunal statistics suggest that employers now are more vulnerable than ever.

Can you deal with Employment Tribunal claims, or is this triaged outside of EW?

Should you receive a claim, your dedicated Employment Law adviser, who will have dealt with the matter up until that point, will conduct a full handover to our Litigation Team. They will explain the case history, share all the relevant documentation and offer their views on the prospects of the claim. Our Litigation Team will then take over all the prep work, including drafting a defence, producing bundles, dealing with Acas and the other side, and briefing counsel. Rest assured this is a smooth process, with everything kept inside EW, and you will be in safe hands throughout.

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Management Information

Discipline, performance, absenteeism. We’ll show you exactly where your dedicated Employment Law advisers are spending their time so that you can target key problem areas for more productive, high-performing teams. Recommended for large organisations with high case volumes.

What detail does the MI provide?

The report will highlight what sorts of issues we are advising on and who/where in your business those questions are coming from. That way, we can easily spot problem areas, bring them to your attention and recommend steps to address the issues.

What sorts of recommendations do you typically provide?

We will provide practical and pragmatic recommendations to address whatever common problems are arising. The exact nature will depend on the sort of issues but could include training of managers in certain areas or the production of additional guidance and documentation to guide them through tricky subjects.

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From document templates to HR Software, MyEW gives you all the tools you need to manage even the trickiest employee issues, improve efficiencies and get the answers you need, fast.

What sorts of issues can I find guides and templates on?

We have hundreds of guidance notes and accompanying templates covering a full spectrum of employment-related issues, including Maternity, Pay, Flexible Working, Holidays, Performance and Redundancy. All of these resources are created by our experts, and if you require further support or have any questions, you can contact your dedicated team of advisers for practical advice and guidance.

What does the HR Software do?

There can be a great deal of administration involved in managing employees, and the burden only increases as your business grows. If filing cabinets of employee information is no longer cutting it, our HR Software will help to automate your processes, save valuable time and manage HR tasks at the touch of a button. Use it to store and organise employee data and essential documents; manage and report on holidays, absence, timesheets and rostering; stay on top of employee reviews; maintain a comprehensive employee directory, and keep a record of training and development.

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95% Client satisfaction rate - 97% Client retention rate

Experts in Employment Law & HR

Why choose us?

At Ellis Whittam, we’re known for our bespoke service and the quality of our support. Not only is our expertise unmatched, but we take the time to know you so that we can function as a true extension of your team.

  • Your own small team of dedicated experts
  • Commercial, pragmatic advice tailored to you
  • Bespoke contracts, policies and handbooks
  • Trusted by over 35,000 organisations
  • Recognised as a leading firm by the Legal 500

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