• Posted

If you supply temporary workers, it’s crucial to have legal contracts in place. If your contracts fail, so may your chance of recovering the fees you charge.

There are three key points every recruitment businesses should consider:

Contracts which have been used for years are often unenforceable

Old or ‘borrowed’ contracts quickly become outdated or were never fit for purpose in the first place. Many recruiters, relying on contracts which are only a couple of years old or used by competitors, are surprised to learn that they are ultimately unenforceable. Unfortunately, those same recruiters often only find that out once their lawyers advise them that their potential claim is unlikely to succeed.

You may be committing a criminal offence

If your contracts neglect some of the key points required, such as supplying the correct information under the Conduct Regulations or failing to correctly deal with a worker’s 12 week equal treatment rights under the Agency Worker Regulations, you could be inadvertently committing a criminal offence. The consequences can be an expensive fine and the heavy cost of instructing lawyers to defend you.

Worse, if the Employment Agencies Inspectorate takes an interest, you could be banned from running an employment business or agency altogether for up to 10 years.

It’s time and money well spent to get it right

Many recruiters choose to ‘do it themselves’ and modify their own contracts. If you do choose to go down that route, you should be cautious.  The law dealing with recruitment is notoriously complex; even experienced legal advisors (usually those who do not specialise in the sector) have been known to get it wrong.

All too often, recruiters skip legal advice altogether and simply insert their company’s name onto the top of a template agreement.

It is therefore sensible to seek competent legal advice from the start. For less than the commission earned on an average deal a contract can usually be re-drafted professionally. Spending a little now, can save you a lot in the long run.

Debenhams Ottaway is an REC legal business partner. They advise recruitment agencies of all shapes and sizes across the UK.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.