The start-up guide to employment contracts

The start-up guide to employment contracts by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

Taking on a new hire? Congratulations!

Writing employment contracts for your first hires can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be a struggle. We know that you want to keep in line with the law without all the faff, so we’ve laid out a handy guide to start-up employment contracts.

If you’re looking for more help with the hiring process, take a peek at our resources!

Employment contracts 101: a start-up guide to hiring success

Firstly, it’s always a good idea to look at the government website. We’re fully intending to update this article as employment law develops, but it’s best to triple check just in case.

The basics

A contract is much more than legal jargon. It outlines your new employee’s:

  • Rights
  • Responsibilities and duties
  • Conditions of employment

These are all known as the ‘terms’.

But you don’t have to write a novel to issue a good contract. Some terms are implied, like mutual trust and the right to be paid. The rest of the terms are explicitly stated.

Do you have to write it yourself?

Of course not! Many start-ups outsource complicated things like this to a recruitment or HR company. We’ve even developed our own HR platform to help you with things like this! Take a look if you’re interested…

If you’re thinking of taking on the task of writing it yourself, here’s a quick guide (but we do recommend you find a template – or use one of ours – otherwise you could be doing this for hours!) And be sure to check your contract through with a lawyer or HR advisor.

  • Include the full name and details of your company and new hire.
  • Copy down your new hire’s: start date, working hours, job description, break and holiday entitlements.
  • Include details about salary, payments, expenses, deductions, notice period and pension.

Sending it off

After you’ve finished making your employment contract, you need to send it out to your new hire. Be sure to:

  • Send it to them on or before their first day.
  • Let your new hire know how excited you are for them to start!
  • Ask them to come back to you with any questions. Employment contracts are naturally confusing, so expect a couple of questions over email.
  • Have your new employee sign and date the contract before returning it to you. This can be done digitally with a platform like Adobe Acrobat.

Next steps

It’s a good idea to keep storming ahead with the hiring paperwork so your new employee is onboarded as easily as possible. Have a think about your induction process and employee handbook next.


For more information about contracts, see the government website. Happy hiring!

If you’re looking for more talented juniors to hire, check out DigitalGrads. We help you through the recruitment process – from job advert to onboarding – making your life as a start-up owner much easier. Sign up today to start looking for your next big hire.

About post author

Hi, I'm Daisy. I'm using my passion for writing to work with DigitalGrads on their content and social media campaigns.
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