A properly drafted contract of employment with the steward is a key document for any club operating a bar. It sets out the steward’s rights and obligations and outlines the contractual agreement between the club and the steward in respect of such matters as stock and cash deficits. Increasingly we are finding that the steward’s contract of employment has been poorly drafted and key clauses have been omitted. Without these key clauses reclaiming deficits from stewards is problematic.
When appointing or re-negotiating a contract it is always best to obtain specialist employment law advice or guidance from the club’s governing body. ACAS is also a good source of law advice but is not a suitable source in respect of the steward’s contract. Examples of the clauses that should be included in the steward’s contract are:
STOCKTAKES AND DEFICITS
Where the steward occupies a club house or flat the steward’s contract should reflect this. The provision of rent free accommodation for the better performance of an employee’s duties is one of the few tax free benefits allowed by H M Revenue & Customs. No rent should be charged to the steward as this not only creates a tenancy situation but a tax liability for both the club and the steward. The only exception to this is in respect of charges for gas, electricity and other services paid for and provided by the club which should be charged to the Steward as a ‘contribution towards accommodation expenses’.
Where the steward has placed a cash deposit with the club the contract should state where the funds are held, the rate of interest payable and that deduction for deficits of cash and stock can be deducted from the bond. On completion of the steward’s contract with the club and receipt of a satisfactory final stock report the procedures for repayment of the cash deposit and interest should be outlined.
The steward should not be a member of the club and should be required to suspend his club membership for the duration of his employment.
Experience has shown that it is never a good idea for a club to write its own contract. Advice should be sought from the club’s governing body or an employment law firm familiar with the terms of a steward agreement.