Shocking “ignorance” of employee contracts

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Only one worker in 166 reads their contact and fully understands its contents – at least that’s according to a new report which is shocking industry experts.

“We're stunned,” said spokesman Mark Hall, of Protecting.co.uk – the employment law consulting service that commissioned the study.
“You would have thought that you would read through an important document before you put your name to it, but it appears that for most people that's simply not the case,” he added.

The report

The report asked 1,000 UK-based employees if they’d ever read their employment contract in full – to which only 0.6 per cent insisted they had.

Ninety-three claimed to have read part of the document but the vast majority – a startling 909 employees – admitted they had not read the contents or did not remember doing so.

The results indicate an acute lack of understanding – something which can all-too-often lead to internal disputes and unnecessary dismissals.

The top five problems which could have been avoided if contracts had been fully understood were also revealed:
  • “Moonlighting” for other companies
  • Bringing the company into disrepute
  • Timeliness
  • Workplace behaviour
  • Misuse of company cars
The solution

It’s simple, says one HR leader– literally.

“Many organisations have very detailed lengthy legal contracts designed not to provide clarity,” said Addaction HRD Guy Pink. “HR could help by simplifying the details, writing these in plain English so everyone in the company can understand what is being said.

“It’s about taking contracts back from lawyers and making them human,” he added.
  • Bruce on 25/09/2015 6:36:06 p.m.

    99% of this article is unrelated to NZ :-p My experience of Employment Agreements in NZ is evidently privileged, seeming fairly human. Most of my clients' agreements are straightforward, but using legal structures and principles as required by the law, and in order to make them comprehensive. The reality for most employees is knowing the required notice period.

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