A recent report by protecting.co.uk has revealed that only one worker in 166 has ever read their contract of employment let alone understood its content!
It would be interesting to see what percentage of employers have actually read the contract that they give their staff.
Of course we all know that actually “the small print” is only ever important when there is a problem. Most people go through their lives without ever needing to look at their contract of employment. The dynamic relationship between the employer and the employee can become stifled if people are taking too rigid an approach to what they originally agreed. It has thankfully been sometime since we have seen the days of demarcation disputes when employees refused to perform task because “it’s not in my job description”!
It is, of course, worth reminding ourselves that the contract of employment is not just about the written terms and conditions which are signed and then put into a drawer never to be looked at again. It is, in fact, about the whole relationship which the employer and employee understand they have (or how a neutral third party observer would perceive this), and can include letters, oral promises and sometimes conduct which has become accepted custom and practice. Nevertheless, the written document is important and it is worth both employers and employees reading it!