Written employment contracts are like living documents, and should really have a routine check-up every 12 to 18 months to make sure that they’re still healthy.
The reality is that employment law can change rapidly, and some of the standard clauses in employment law can be a bit of a moving target. If a court rules that language that may once have been okay is no longer valid, then that represents a change in the law, and means that all contracts with similar language should be re-examined to make sure that they would still ‘hold up’ if they were challenged in court.
If your business has employment contracts that have not been reviewed in more than 18 months, then the odds are that they would be unlikely to protect you if an employee were to sue. A well-written contract can act as a form of insurance, in that if it follows the law then it can be used as a legal defense. Having employees working under an age-old contract that has never been reviewed and is collecting dust is a bit like driving without renewing your car insurance. It does not mean that you CAN’T drive, but getting caught may prove very, very expensive.