The NCS programme may only operate for a period of short duration however, during this period there is a still a legal and contractual relationship between a Club and a person providing their services to the programme and it is of vital importance that this relationship is properly understood and documented. A failure to give consideration to the form of the contractual relationship in place can expose clubs to unnecessary and wholly avoidable litigation risk although ascertaining the correct form of a contractual relationship can be tricky. Detailed below are some of the key steps and considerations a club should have when considering the contractual relationship with their NCS workers.
Under UK employment law, an individual can only be one of three things when rendering services to an employer: either “employee”, “worker” or “self-employed”. The distinction between these three categories is often slight but of much importance. The category of employment status determines an individual’s employment rights and more importantly, a club’s liabilities.
Once the correct employment status has been ascertained a club needs to look at what contractual agreement to put in place to set out the terms. There are many considerations to be had in this regard and clubs need to consider whether they are looking at employees, workers or, self-employed persons and, then whether they are looking at a fixed term contract; a ‘normal’ contract with a clause included which deals with NCS, or two separate contracts.
There is no fixed answer here because the position will depend upon the nature of the relationship and what suits each club; the important part is that the relationship is documented accurately.
The risks of not properly defining employment status and/or issuing incorrect documentation range from minor queries/problems which take up management time in resolving, all the way to an Employment Tribunal for breach of contract, constructive/unfair dismissal and discrimination.
NCS Specific Provisions
All Foundations need to be very specific about what job roles and duties the individual is expected to perform on the NCS programme. This might be communicated in various different ways, for example through the issue of a job description, but as long as the duties are communicated that is the important point.
- Terms of employment must be issued within 8 weeks of employment starting. You might cover some in an offer letter, but ideally you would have a full contract in place within the first two months. What you are aiming for is for every member of staff to sign two copies of their up to date and relevant contract so that you have one for your records, and the employee has one.
- You will need an “opt out” agreement for any member of staff working longer than 48 hours.