You know how I’m always going on about the benefits of a well worded contract, even if you are worried about the cost?  Well, here’s a good example of why it can save you money in the long run.

A support worker, providing help to the disabled, travels from appointment to appointment throughout the day.  He is paid for his time between meetings, but not for his time in travelling from home to the first client in the morning, and from the last appointment to home in the evening.  He argued that this formed part of his work and so he should be paid for it.

The case was heard by the employment Tribunal who agreed that this travel time amounted to part of his job.  That’s a perfectly logical decision.  However, the employer appealed (probably because it would apply to all of their staff and so could be very expensive for them) and the Employment Appeal Tribunal said that the employee should not be paid for that time!  That might sound illogical, but the reason is simple.  His contract said that he was not paid for that part of his job.  As long as the contract doesn’t contradict the law, the contract will take priority.

Obviously you can’t just exclude everything from your payment provisions and expect people to work for free, but it is ok to exclude some things, if you word it correctly.  It didn’t protect the employer from an expensive court case, but it would have been more expensive if they’d lost, and it was the wording of the contract that saved them.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Good with words.