Most businesses will require legally binding employment agreements, and when writing an employment contract it is necessary to take account of the most appropriate legislation. The EU, of which the UK is a member, has developed a sophisticated and complex set of rules governing the rights of employees. Current UK legislation (Employment Rights Act 1996) requires every employer to issue to every employee within two months from the date he/she starts work, a statement covering a number of areas. To illustrate some of these areas, any employment contract needs to detail:

· Name of employer, and of employee
· The start date of the employment
· Job title & brief description of the job
· The remuneration (or the method of calculating it)
· Payment intervals – weekly, monthly etc.
· Terms & conditions relating to hours of work.
· Terms & conditions relating to holidays, including public holidays and holiday pay.
· Terms & conditions relating to sickness or other incapacity
· Any pension rights
· Notice periods
· The place of work
· Where the employment is not intended to be permanent, the planned duration or, if it is for a fixed term, the end date
· A note concerning the employer’s disciplinary procedure

An employee also has statutory rights – a variety of rights laid down by law which cannot be cancelled by the terms of any employment contract. A number of these rights – paternity leave, adoption leave and parental leave – are new and only came into effect in April 2003. Other statutory rights include an itemised statement of pay, time off for public duties, notice of termination, sick pay. National Minimum Wage, Unfair Dismissal, Working Time Regulations and Discrimination are some of the further areas that employers will need to abide by. To assist you with employment contracts, specialist employment law firms will advise and draw up the necessary documentation for you, or alternatively, online legal contracts services supply employment contracts for all situations from part-time workers to overseas posting. Where an employee is to go to work overseas, a number of additional considerations arise. These will vary depending on the location and whether the employee will be accompanied by his wife/family. Matters to be considered include: · Duration of overseas posting
· Salary and currency of payment
· Additional leave
· Airfares to be paid by employer to/from place of work to home country
· Housing and other benefits (utilities, car, servants, phone bills etc.)
· Taxation (how does the tax position in the country of work differ from the home country and whether this will be reflected in the salary arrangements)
· Education allowance for children
· Entitlement to return to job in home country on expiry of contract It is also good practice to compile a staff handbook, setting out the rights and duties of both employer and employee and the employer's policies and procedures in relation to all personnel matters, including disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Giles Dixon is the managing director of