Free contracts are not always free!


Don’t you just love to get free stuff.   Finding you don’t have to pay can be a great feeling especially when it’s a free contract or two. But not everything that is free is going to save you money, in fact some free contracts will cost you your business…

Free contracts and really expensive contracts

We have just finished reviewing a free employment contract from a prestigious membership organisation (and one I happen to be a member of!).

To our horror it :

  • completely ignored pension auto enrolment
  • referred to a staff handbook that didn’t exist
  • got statutory notice entirely wrong
  • got statutory holiday carry forward wrong
  • provided for summary termination that would trigger an equality/disability claim
  • It was lucky the member sent the contract to us for review before issuing it.  Their free contract was about to cost them a lot of time and money.

Zero hours are changing

If you use zero hours to get you some flexibility, remember that you can no longer demand exclusivity.  The difference between a zero hours contract and a freelance contract can be hard to understand these days- but get it wrong and you will find yourself facing demands for back PAYE (plus penalties).

Claim your free contract review

This one really is free and worth a lot of money – click here and claim a free review of your contract and make sure you really have got it straight.

Food for thought

Want to really save some money on your contracts?

We keep hearing from people who have paid thousands of pounds for employment law insurance – many of whom are locked into multi year contracts.   We are pleased to announce that we have found a low cost (starting at £250 a year) insurance scheme that allows you to use us or any suitable advisor.  No minimum terms – but you do have to be trading as a limited company.  This is for directors and officers only.

Click here for more information and to get a quote on your premium.

Watch this space

Our next newesletter will be about the unpaid intern – don’t forget, calling them interns doesn’t mean you can always get them to work for free.

Next webinar dates

If you pay freelancers, make sure you have these dates on your calendar.


About the Author Annabel Kaye

We founded Irenicon in 1980 to help employers make employment law work for them. We were always a mixed disciplinary practice – something quite revolutionary at the time. Over the years we have worked with some wonderful organisations, pushing the boundaries of how employment law can really be made to work without restricting the flow of the organisation.

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Sarah Fox (@500wordlawyer) says

I completely agree! Free contracts can cost you plenty of money in the long-term. Not only do some of them miss the relevant laws (I’ve reviewed membership T&C which are wrong and inadequate), but they don’t necessarily represent your business as professionally as the rest of your marketing material. Remember that until a client signs, they are still a prospect and need to be woo-ed, not put off!

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