User friendly Employee T&Cs

And finally, the last part of our look at our Employee Terms and Conditions. Since the document itself is written in suitable legalese, I wrote up a more succinct (and decidedly less formal) version that conveys the spirit of the terms rather than getting bogged down in exact wording.

1.1 You’re an employee, we’re your employer. Welcome aboard. Get to work.
1.2 If you’re too sick to work, don’t be surprised if we get a temp in to cover. Don’t worry, you’re not being replaced.
1.3 Just to make sure – you’re okay to work here, right? You’re not also pretending to work somewhere else? Or claiming benefits from being out of work?

2.1 We expect you to work a typical week, but when the s&*^ hits the fan, we might need you to stay late.
2.2 If you’re putting in a regular day, you can totally take some time out for lunch. Just don’t eat anything that stinks the office out.
2.3 We can’t / don’t want to pay you money for overtime. But since overtime is definitely over and above the call of duty, we want to recognise that, so if we do need you to do it, we’ll let you take time off later, as much time off as you put in extra now. That doesn’t mean you get to take the piss and work silly hours for a week, and then not come in for a week. What it does mean is that, if the business needs it, you and your manager can work out when you’re going to work extra, and when you get to go home early (or stay off) to make up for it. Even at that, we’re going to cap it at 20 hours in a month, because that seems like a reasonable amount; anything more and you’d not be usefully working anyway.
2.4 Don’t f*(& around. Really. We pay you to work, we expect you to work. Don’t take the piss, and you’ll do just fine. On a more serious note, this is really how we want you to work. We don’t want you working stupid hours into the dead of night to hit our deadlines, we want you in and focused 100% on your work for the 8 hours you’re in the office each day. We’ve already said we’re going to send you home at a sensible time every day, and we hope that will help keep you sharp and eager to work when you’re at your desk. Obviously there’s some give and take here, but it’s at the discretion of your manager. Rest assured, he’s probably occasionally web-surfing too, but within reason, and he expects the same of you.

3.1 This is obviously a condition written when we were still all working from home (we have an office now). We’re not going to up a move to Guadalcanal without some notice, but if we do have to move, we don’t expect you to come with us without being paid to relocate.

4.1 You get paid! Hurrah. You get paid after you do a month’s work, at the end of the month. (If we didn’t pay you at the end of the month, you’d be within your rights to not come back in at the start of the next month until we did).
4.2 We’re not going to fix you on this salary for ever, but we can’t say when or how we’ll change it next. We will however work out when that’s going to happen with you in advance, usually when you take the job.
4.3 Legal stuff.

5.1 If you’re working for us, and you pay money out of your own pocket to do that work, we’ll pay you back later. But you’ve got to do it by the book, so receipts, and get the claims in sharpish. And for goodness sakes, clear it with your manager first.
5.2 Company credit card? How much do we trust you? Okay, so we do, but you’d better not abuse the trust, and it’s still ours.

6.1 Details
6.2 You get a certain amount of holidays a year, and you earn a fraction of those holidays for every day worked. This is to stop you from joining the company, then trying to take all 30 days holiday in the first month. Holidays come after the work, not before.
6.3 6 weeks holiday – but bear in mind that includes the what, 8 days of bank holidays that some other places add on top.
6.4 You have to let us know when you want to get off. Usually that will be fine, with advance warning, but sometimes we need you in the office for certain deadlines. The farther in advance you let us know, the more likely it is you’ll get to take it; if something comes up for the business then so be it – we won’t ask you to cancel a big holiday planned in advance because the client pushed the deadlines forward (or back)
6.5 (see 6.3)

7.1 You’re never so sick that you can’t make a call to the office and let someone know. NB: Emailing is not letting someone know! You have no idea if that email’s been picked up, maybe the person you emailed is sick as well. You have to have made a sincere effort to let someone who has made it to the office that day know.
7.2 Doctor’s note if you’re really sick – we need the paperwork to cover us for sick pay reasons, etc.
7.3 More statutory stuff that says we’ll still pay you if you’re long term ill, but in line with government rates
7.4 same again
7.5 and again
7.6 If you’re getting a wad of money from sueing the drunk driver that knocked you over, some of that money comes to us to cover anything we’ve paid for your convalescence.
7.7 We might need to check your health, for our own insurance reasons, or because we’re trying to stop all of you sedentary developers from keeling over with heart attacks due to your bad diet and lack of exercise. Don’t worry, we’ll pay for it all.
7.8 Just because you’re ill, doesn’t mean that we can’t terminate your employment. In fact, whether you’re ill or not should have nothing at all to do with us letting you go.

8.1 We might, at some point, need to sack you. Might be your fault, might be a decision we have to make for other reasons. If we do, we’ll tell you about it a month in advance. If you want to leave, you also have to give us a month’s warning. If you’ve breached these terms though, we’ll put you out right away.
8.2 If you’re leaving, for whatever reason, we might want to just pay you for your notice period without actually having you around. Don’t take it personally. Whether we do or not is up to us though, not you.
8.3 If you’re leaving, and we keep you around for your notice period, then we don’t have to give you any real work to do, or even let you back in the office.

9.1 We might give you some kit to do your job, but if you’re leaving us, then you have to give it all back, including any copies you’ve made
9.2 And you might have to swear that you definitely have done this, so if it turns out later you were lying we have something we can point to and moan about it

10.1 If you are involved in any other business that might relate to us in any way (like a competitor, or even a similar business), you have to let us know. We might not mind, but you definitely have to tell us. That includes your direct family too.
10.2 Once you’re working for us, you agree not to start anything like that either. We don’t mind you buying shares in a business like that, as long as it’s not a very big stake.
10.3 Stuff defining some examples of how we mean ‘involved’ in those other businesses.

11.1 You’ve got to tell us if you were a crook, generally a dodgy character. And if you find out that a bunch of your colleagues are planning to leave and strike out in competition with us, you’re obliged to tell us as quick as you can. And if you know that one of your colleagues is screwing us over, tell us that too. Otherwise we’re going to believe that you were helping them.

12.1 Don’t tell anyone else things you know because you’re working with us. That includes other business’s secrets – our company has agreed to keep those secrets, and that includes you.

13.1 Any ideas or content you come up with “while working on activities for us”, belongs to us, wholly and completely. That applies whether you’re in our office our out on a client’s site somewhere, or even if you’re working on company stuff in your home. Conversely, if you’re not working on activities for us, your ideas are your own. Bear in mind, you shouldn’t be working on activities of your own when you’re at work at all – we expect you to either be at the office, working, or at home, not thinking about work at all.
13.2 If you do come up with something at work, and we really don’t want it, you can ask, and we might just give you all rights to the idea. This will basically take the form of a signed document that say exactly which idea we don’t want and we’re handing off to you.
13.3 Some copyright specific stuff to make clear that we, the company, is the author/originator, and not you, when it comes to IP
13.4 We might need you to sign your name and generally take part in the process of sorting out trademarks, patents, etc, that you had a hand in creating with us. That’s true even if you’ve left the company’s employment since you did the work. You won’t be able to do those things on your own, it will have to be us that drives the process.
13.5 You’ve got to do everything you can to make sure that the IP rests properly with us, and not you; even after you leave us.
13.6 Don’t steal anyone else’s work and pass it off as your own (and so ours), or make some libellous or obscene content in our name.

14.1 You’re going to be exposed to at least some level of our company’s secrets – you’ve got to keep them. If you do divulge anything, you’d better have our written consent first.
14.2 You can’t start a business in competition with us. But we don’t mind you owning shares in a publicly listed company that competes with us (that’s just investment). Shares in privately held companies are out though.
14.3 You’re not allowed to poach recent (in the last 12 months) customers from us
14.4 You’re not allowed to poach recent (in the last 3 months) employees from us
14.5 You’re not allowed to use any confidential information you have as a result of working for us, or tell anyone else that information (apart from tribunals or courts that you’re obliged to tell the truth in)
14.6 You’re not allowed to record details of what’s going on inside the company, unless it’s to benefit the company
14.7 You’re not allowed to pretend to still be working with us after you’ve quit
14.8 We know this legal wording’s pretty complicated, and different situations lead to different justifiable periods, so if this contract would be valid if we took out some of these restrictions and/or reduced the times involved, then that is the contract instead. I.e. you agree not to try and work around these agreements by finding a loophole in an otherwise reasonable clause.

15.1 Don’t do something on our behalf that would tarnish the company’s name. We’ve written down how we expect you to behave, roughly, so you should read up on that so you know what to avoid.
15.2 If you’re new, then we might skip the more rigorous disciplinary procedures; but you can take your complaint to the company director, if you’re not happy with the way you’ve been treated.
15.3 Please be sensible, and work things out with your line manager before starting the formal grievance procedure. But if you do want to do it formally, make it in writing.
15.4 If you’re formally doing things, you have the right of appeal of your decision
15.5 If you’ve since quit, please still raise the grievance with the company director.

16.1 Legal statement that nothing else interferes with these terms
16.2 We might need to change these rules, but if we do we’ll let you know a month in advance.
16.3 Where to find the employee handbook

17 Legalese

18 Legalese

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Black Company Studios Limited, The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PR
Registered in Scotland (SC283017) VAT Reg. No.: 886 4592 64
Last modified: February 06 2020.