Ask a question

Thanks! We'll be in touch as soon as possible. Ask another
Oops! Something went wrong. Please ensure you have an active connection. Try again

Call or email us

Phone 0845 3004305

Phone and email support is completely free. We have been developing software for over 20 years and have always believed in free support. It's best for our customers and motivates us to create easy to use, problem-free software. Check our office opening hours to ensure you get through.

Popular Questions

Does the employer need to have a handbook?

There is no legal obligation for an employer to have an employee handbook. The employer is however, obliged to provide the employees with a written summary of the procedure to be used if it should become necessary to dismiss them. Employers are also obliged to provide details of the procedure applicable to taking disciplinary action and specific details in relation to how employees raise a grievance matter. This information is outlined within the handbook.

In addition, the handbook is an opportunity for employers to set out the standards they expect from employees in different situations e.g. performance, attendance, and timekeeping. Clear policies and procedures can help to avoid uncertainty and disputes between the employer and the employee, and can also provide guidelines as to how to deal with such situations as they may arise.



How do I determine if an employee is Fixed Term (Specified Term), Fixed Term (Specified Purpose)

An employer must consider the reason for hiring the person on a temporary bases. If the employee is hired in order to replace someone who is absent or for a specific project, the employee is best served with a specific purpose contract and outlining the reason in the contract. The advantage of this type of contract, is that it makes it clear from the outset that when the circumstances outlined change then the contract will end. The disadvantage is that the employer must be wary of changing the role of the individual to something other than the specific purpose for which he/she was hired. E.g. if the person was hired to replace someone on maternity leave and when the person on maternity leave returns, the temporary employee is moved onto a different task, then he/she should receive a new contract.

A fixed term contract specifies a finishing date and is particularly useful for employers who hire extra staff for seasonal requirements. Legislation limits the number of continuous fixed term contracts that can be given to an employee before they must be given a contract of indefinite duration.

Employees employed on successive fixed term contracts over four years continuous service can request to be made permanent. The employer can only retain the employee on a fixed term contract if there is an objective justification for this. 

How do we know this system complies with requirements and what if the law changes?

The system content has been compiled and tested by HR/Employment law experts. The system will be updated with any changes in legislation, changes brought about by case law or changes in best practice. These updates will be flagged to all current users and will be free to download.

How do you introduce new contracts to existing employees who have no written contracts?

The employer should make it clear to the employees that a written agreement on basic terms and conditions is legally necessary as is a written agreement on the dismissal procedure. The legislation governing this was introduced to increase the protection for the employees. The written contract and handbook simply clarifies the employment relationship. The employer is obliged to provide the written terms and conditions of employment even if the employee is refusing to sign it.

 For further assistance please refer to the HR Guidance on the website, where you will find advice on "Introducing Contracts & Handbooks to Existing Staff", alternatively please click here.

Please be advised that we do not provide a HR consultancy service and if a dispute persists the employer may need external advice.

If I want a contract I can just google it for free. Why pay for Bright Contracts?

There are templates for employee contracts and written terms and conditions of employment available on the internet. We would welcome everyone to look at the options that they can get for free and compare them with the trial version of Bright Contracts. We have no doubt that Bright Contracts is much more comprehensive, more user-friendly, and gives the employer a much better end-product. It gives the employer the peace-of-mind that they are compliant! Key benefits include:

Minimal Set-Up Work for Employers

Many free, on-line contract templates are simply guidelines and still involve a lot of input from the employer. The set up of Bright Contracts is simple. It involves less work.

For example there are many free guidelines online for providing the minimum terms and conditions required by law. However, they don't provide the employer with a comprehensive contract of employment. The disadvantage of this is, the contract will be based on the minimum requirements rather than what is the best solution for employers. By its nature it is a neutral document. The Bright Contracts solution has clauses and optional sections that offer the employer more protection in cases of disputes. Examples include the option to pay in lieu of notice, lay off/short time, garden leave, deductions from wages.

A fully working handbook is available without the user being required to enter anything although the system is fully flexible to enter and delete information. This compares with the templates that are available on the internet which are merely guidelines and still require the employer to write most of the details. We have a customer who spent two weeks writing a handbook and when our product became available, took our option instead.

Keeping Track of Contracts

Bright Contracts has an extra advantage - it allows the employer to track whether the employees have received contracts and handbooks, and flags to the employer whenever a temporary contract is nearing it’s end.

Automatic Updates

Bright Contracts will provide updates if there are changes required through legislation changes, or through the effect of case law and best practice. The alternative is that the employer may not become aware of the change required, or if they do become aware would have to rewrite themselves.

Provides Maximum Protection for Employers

The handbook that is provided in Bright Contracts contains disciplinary and grievance procedures that are required by law. Again, the Bright Contracts handbook goes much further and provides the employers with extra clauses and optional clauses that provide much more than the minimum requirement and provides clarity in terms of rules and procedures.


Is it a statutory requirement for an employee to sign that he/she has accepted a contract and handbook?

No, there is no legal requirement for the employee to sign off that he/she has accepted or received the contract. However, it is highly recommended that the employer makes reasonable efforts to reach agreement with the employee on the contract and to have the contract signed by the employee. In situations where an employee does refuse to sign the contract, the employer is advised to retain records as proof that the employee was actually issued with the contract of employment. The employer is obliged to sign the contract.  

There is no statutory requirement for a handbook. Certain documents such as disciplinary procedures and grievance procedures are required but some employers include them in contracts. The handbook is however a useful tool for clarifying rules and regulations and general terms and conditions for employees and can help avoid conflict and misunderstandings and in the event of a dispute can provide a guideline on resolving it.

Although it is not an obligation, it would be advisable to get the employees to sign off on all the documents if possible. It creates a record of the employee having received them. If they don’t, then the employer should keep a record of having given the handbook to the employee. One suggestion is to give a letter along with the handbook stating that he/she has two weeks to come back with any questions. If they don’t, it will be assumed that they have understood and accepted the documents. It places the onus on the employee to raise whatever issues he/she has rather than reject the document wholesale. The same applies to a contract/ written terms and conditions.

What if the employee is a Sales Rep? How do I define place of work?

Under Dates/Places, within the Places of Work section the employer should define the general area which the employee will cover and expand to state that he/she will be required to travel within that area. For example: 'the East Midlands'. You will be required to travel in the course of your work within the East Midlands.

What is Bright Contracts?

Bright Contracts is a software package that has everything you need to create and manage your staff handbook and employee contracts.

Getting these in place has traditionally been an expensive, complicated and time-consuming process.

Bright Contracts makes it quick and easy.

Bright Contracts helps ensure that the employers meet their statutory obligations under employment law including The Employment Rights Act 1996.

What kind of support will I get?

We provide FREE software support.

We will also aim to answer your questions in relation to the content and implementation of documents, for example:

  • What does a particular clause mean?
  • Why would they need a particular clause in the handbook or contract?

The contract and handbooks will provide clarity for both the employer and employee in the event of a dispute. In addition a range of support material and reference guides can be found on our website. However, we will not be advising on individual employment issues or guiding employers through disputes.

What legislation is the software based on?

Bright Contracts has been written taking into account employment legislation across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The main piece of legislation governing the content of Bright Contracts is The Employments Rights Act 1996 and The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996. The legislation specifies that employees must receive written terms and conditions of employment and what these terms and conditions are. In addition Bright Contracts has taken cognisance of current best practices as well as all relevant legislation in the creation of the content of the contract and handbook.

Legislation also requires that employers are provided with details of procedures relating to dismissal, disciplinary and grievances, all of which are covered in our documentation.

Who can use it?

We realise that the drafting of contracts and handbooks can seem like a daunting prospect for employers, best left to the experts. By using Bright Contracts you have the assurance that it has been designed and populated by experts with the aim of simplifying the process for the end user in mind. It has been designed in such a way that anyone with the basic information about the company and the employees can set up the contracts and handbook without requiring any human resource or employment law expertise.

A readymade handbook is available without a requirement for any input with additional clauses available if required. To create the contract the user will just have to select the appropriate tick boxes and fill in basic information about the employee. Once one contract has been created, this can be copied and used as the template for the creation of contracts for other employees. Bright Contracts also contains useful information boxes throughout the system to help guide the user.

Who will be held liable if the Bright Contracts Software is not up to date with a certain legislative rule and a case arises from this?

If the software content is incorrect on a piece of legislation (and the employer had installed ongoing software and content upgrades) and this directly leads to a loss for the employer then Bright Contracts would have a case to answer. One major benefit of working with the Bright Contracts software is that this should not happen. The Bright Contracts team are monitoring legislative changes on an ongoing basis and will issue updates to the users as necessary when legislation changes that affects the contract or handbook content. Once an employer maintains a licence with Bright Contracts they will benefit from this facility. It is then up to the individual employers to implement these updates to their individual contracts or handbooks

It is the responsibility of each employer to ensure that they are operating within the law in terms of the dealings with their employees. The contract and handbook set out the terms and conditions of the working relationship. By following the procedures set out the employer will be in a better position to avoid claims or to defend them if they do arise. Cases are often lost as a result of employers having no procedures in place, having flawed procedures in place or not following their procedures. It’s also important to note that many of these cases are not based on legislation but rather on good practice and previous case law. Therefore Bright Contracts are also regularly checking case law and best practice and will also issue updates if required on this basis

Why all the different start dates?

Bright Contracts allows for 3 dates to appear on the contract.

1.The date of this contract: is the date the current document you are creating will be effective. This may be for a change within the company due to a promotion or a transfer and therefore can be different than the date of commencement.

2.The date of commencement with this employer: represents the date that the employee commenced work with this employer. For all new starts the date of the contract and the date of commencement will be the same.

3.The date of commencement of period of continuous employment: this date should be included if this is a business, which has been subject to a Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE) arrangement, and the employee was transferred from the previous company into the current company as part of this arrangement. In this situation the date of commencement with the current employer will be different than the commencement date for continuous employment.

Why should I use it?

Contracts of employment offer employers considerable protection. Without employee contracts in place, an employer is risking large settlements in the case of staff disputes, and fines in the case of regulatory inspections. Having contracts also clearly defines the contractual relationship between you and your employees.

Bright Contracts is the easiest way to get sorted.

Knowledge Base

The knowledge base can be accessed by pressing the F1 key in Bright Contracts.


The new standard in payroll software, now available for employers in the UK and Ireland.

UK Website  Ireland Website

Bright Contracts

Create tailored professional employment contracts and staff handbooks. Available for employers in the UK and Ireland.

UK Website  Ireland Website