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Contracts of Employment

An employment contract forms the initial foundations of any working relationship between an employer and an employee. 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.

If you’re an employee moving into a new position, it’s worth remembering that an employer is required to provide you with a written contract to sign within two months of starting. However, all employees have an employment contract with their employer written or not. Even if you aren’t asked to sign a printed document, you’ll need to ensure you’ve been presented with all the information regarding your employment before accepting a position, including employment conditions, your rights, responsibilities and duties. These are referred to as the terms of your contract. These terms then form the foundation of your employment agreement and must be adhered to for the length of your contract.

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)
  • another 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 no 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.

Written terms for someone who started their job
before 6th April 2020

An employee or worker who started their job before April 2020 can ask their employer for written terms that meet the above requirements.

They must still be working with the employer or be within 3 months of their leaving date.

The employer must provide the written terms that meet the above requirements within 1 month.

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