Contracts of employment

An employment contract forms the initial foundations of any working relationship between an employer and an employee. Also, employers can have awards against them if they fail to issue at least a basic written employment contract. Even if a written contract isn’t drafted, printed and signed, a contract begins as soon as an offer of employment is accepted by an individual. Generally speaking, when an employee begins working for an employer, this means they accept the terms and conditions offered by an employer.

Even without a contract, any employee has the same legal rights, as determined by employment law. As such, so long as an employee can prove they are a member of staff, they can still make various claims, regardless of whether or not their rights are detailed in an existing contract.

As an employer, it’s important that you take careful thought and consideration to introducing terms that best protect your business.

The Following must all be included in the same document (the ‘principal statement’)

  • the employer’s name
  • the employees or worker’s name
  • the start date (the day the employee or worker starts work)
  • the date that ‘continuous employment’ (working for the same employer without a significant break) started for an employee
  • job title, or a brief description of the job
  • the employers address
  • the places or addresses where the employee or worker will work
  • pay, including how often and when (for example, £1,000 per month, paid on the last Friday of the calendar month)
  • working hours, including which days the employee or worker must work and if and how their hours or days can change
  • holiday and holiday pay, including an explanation of how its calculated if the employee or worker leaves
  • the amount of sick leave and pay (if this information is not included in the document the employer must state where to find it)
  • any other paid leave (if this information is not included in the document, the employer must state where to find it)
  • any other benefits, including non-contractual benefits such as childcare vouchers or company car schemes
  • the notice period either side must give when employment ends
  • how long the job is expected to last (if its temporary or fixed term)
  • any probation period, including its conditions and how long it is
  • if any employee will be required to work abroad, and any terms that apply

Other terms that can be supplied later but must be not later than 2 months after the beginning of the employment include:

  • pension arrangements (if this information is not in the document, the employer must state where the employee can find it)
  • any details regarding ‘collective agreements’
  • details of any training provided by the employer that is not compulsory
  • disciplinary rules and disciplinary and grievance procedures.

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