Virtual Assistants need legal contracts so they don’t get sued or screwed. Clients expect you to have them and they’re there to give both you and your client peace of mind if it all goes south. It may start out all rainbows and fairies but client relationships can sour – and you do not want to find yourself naked and shivering without a contract!
During a trip to Gran Canaria, I met a Swedish woman called Janet Alexandersson at a co-working event.
When I discovered that Janet was a freelance lawyer who specialises in international contracts, I asked if she could work with me and some experienced VAs from my trainee group to create legal contracts and policies that were 100% tailored to the needs of Virtual Assistants.
Janet agreed and we started collaborating on creating tailored contracts that focused on protecting the VA and encompassing the many ways in which Virtual Assistants work with their clients.
These are the Virtual Assistant contracts and policies Janet created.
1. Freelancer Agreement and T&Cs
In addition to the contract and your T&Cs, this four-doc bundle also includes a contract negotiation guide, a contract termination template, and IR35 guidelines for UK VAs who are Limited Companies.
2. Website Policies
3. A Data Processing Agreement (DPA)
Virtual Assistants need a Data Processing Agreement if they’re processing personal data for a client – which they usually are.
A DPA is required for GDPR compliance and basically confirms that the Data Controller (your client) has obtained permission to collect personal data and is storing that data securely.
It also indemnifies the Data Processor (you) of all claims and actions by anyone who has not consented for their data to be used or any repercussions if your client has not obtained, stored or is using that personal data in a GDPR-compliant way.
4. An Associate Agreement
In addition to a DPA, Virtual Assistants who outsource work to other VAs also need an Associate Contract in place to protect all parties.
This three-doc bundle also includes a contract termination template and IR35 guidelines for UK VAs who are Limited Companies.
5. A Associate Data Processing Agreement (DPA)
If you’re a VA who outsources client work to Associates then you ALSO need a Sub-Processing DPA.
The Associate DPA is also for GDPR compliance and basically confirms that the Data Sub-Processor (your Associate) is handling all personal data with the right permission and is storing that data securely.
It also serves as proof that you are living up to your own DPA requirements with your client (the Controller).
6. A Data Breach Notification template
In the unfortunate event that personal data that you (or your client) holds is compromised in a data breach, in accordance with GDPR you need to notify the ICO and provide details of the incident.
This template saves you the hassle of finding one during an already stressful situation.
All these legal documents comply with all GDPR regulations and are fully customisable and brandable.
Because it’s all too easy to become confused about contracts and GDPR (and because they are not particularly fun things to think about), Janet and I set up a call to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the types of legal policies needed to run a Virtual Assistant business.
These are the questions I asked Janet:
- What legal documents do Virtual Assistants actually need?
- Do Virtual Assistants need a Data Processing Agreement? Why do they need one? What exactly is it and when should they use it?
- Are you still covered if your client doesn’t sign your Data Processing Agreement and how do you get them to sign one? (We talked a lot about the DPA!)
- What sort of third-party information do Virtual Assistants need to add to their website policies and where do they find it?
- Can Virtual Assistants give their website policies to their clients?
- What information should go in the insurance section of the Freelancer contract?
- What does a GDPR-compliant email footer look like and do you really need one?
- How does GDPR impact Virtual Assistants and are we all overthinking it?
Here is Janet’s advice:
Now and then you may get a client who wants to negotiate or change clauses in your contract. While this is completely normal, you’re likely to freak out the first (second and third) time it happens.
But don’t panic because Janet has provided some negotiation tips to help you deal with any client who wants to make changes to your contract and I have to say, her advice is eye-opening.
Not only does she explain how to use certain clauses as bargaining chips, but she also tells you how to get your client to negotiate with themselves!
Due to her vast experience, Janet’s knowledge is absolute gold dust and I’m so relieved I have her on board to help with the legal aspects of helping you to run your Virtual Assistant business.
It’s also worth knowing that Janet is in the VA Handbookers Facebook group to answer any legal questions you might have. Just tag her and ask away.
Looking for VA legal contracts?
Whether it’s a Freelancer Agreement, a DPA, an Associate contract, or Website Policies, I have every document you will need as a Virtual Assistant.
Written by an international contracts lawyer specifically for VAs, all of the docs are updated and resent to buyers free of charge any time the law changes.