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Employers & grooms: are you contract smart?

last updated on May 25, 2017 10:32

Employers & grooms: are you contract smart?

The British Grooms Association (BGA) has launched an innovative online Contract Creator, with full support from the equestrian industry.

The move follows a recent survey which identified that approximately 56% of the 700 grooms which took part are employed illegally. Highly concerning is also the number of grooms that are employed and then ‘told’ that they are self-employed; this is extremely illegal and is tax evasion and would result in large HMRC fines if prosecuted. The ramifications for these employees is significant as it means that all their employment rights are non-existent.

As a result, the BGA worked alongside equine law specialists Clarke Wilmott LLP to create the first ever equestrian Contract Creator, a five step, easy to use employment tool.

Lucy Katan, Executive Director of the BGA said, “Whilst we are seeing some improvement in employment within our industry, this recent survey highlighted that half of the participants do not have a written contract. This is a concerning statistic as it is a legal requirement of employment and protects both the employer and employee. We know from speaking to employers that this can be through a lack of understanding, so the aim of the Contract Creator is to help the employer create a legal document for their employees in five simple steps.”

International event rider Sam Dempsey was one of the first employers to trial the Contract Creator and said, “The process was really easy to follow, anywhere I was confused or unsure there was a help symbol that explained everything. It is fast and easy to understand, plus you don't worry about rewording something or the language you use as the system does all that for you. I always felt the contract served the employee more than the employer, but this makes me much more confident about not just our responsibilities but also the employees.”

Nicole Adams, Solicitor at Clarke Wilmott said, “Employers are legally required to provide certain information to staff in the first two months of employment and this information should also be included in any contract of employment. Clarke Willmott has worked with the BGA to prepare a suitable template contract for the equine industry and is pleased to support in its push to encourage all equestrian employers to issue staff with up-to-date contracts.”

The Contract Creator is a free to use tool for all employers signed up to the BGA Employers Zone, available at for just £37.50 per year.

“We hope that this innovation will see equine employment modernise further and positions without written contracts put into the past” Lucy concluded.

To launch the Contract Creator the BGA will run a ‘Give your Staff a Contract Week’, from May 25 – June 1, with full support from the British Equestrian Federation, British Horse Society, Association of British Riding Schools, British Eventing, British Dressage, British Showjumping and Horsescotland, who will all be supporting their members and participants to give their staff a written contract.