Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Contracts of employment

Table of contents

What is a contract of employment

A contract of employment is a contract between an employer and an employee and contains all of the terms that you have agreed with your employer. There is always a contract between an employer and an employee – this will either be partially or wholly verbal or in writing. Verbal contracts have the same status as written contracts, but are harder to prove.

Your employer must provide you with written details of certain terms and conditions of your employer within two months of the date that you start work (see “Your right to be given written statement of your employment contract”).

What the contract will cover

The contract covers the agreed terms of your employment, with some of these terms being express, some implied, and some inserted by statute. The contract lasts from the date that you commence employment with your employer to the date that your contract terminates (normally if you are dismissed or you resign).

Your right to be given written statement of your employment contract

You have, under s.1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, the right to be given a “written statement of particulars” of your employment. This is also known as a “section 1 statement” and must be supplied to you within two months of the date that you started employment with your employer.

The written details of your section 1 statement must include (among other things):

  • The names of the employer and the employee;
  • The date of which your employment began;
  • The amount of pay and how often you will be paid;
  • Your hours of work;
  • Your job description or a brief description of the work for which you’re employed;
  • Terms relating to holiday, including holiday pay and public holiday entitlement; and
  • How much warning (notice) you are entitled to if you are dismissed and how much warning you must give to your employer if you want to leave your job

The section 1 statement is not in and of itself the contract of employment but it is strong evidence of what the contract terms are.

What happens if there are problems with your written statement

If no proper written statement of particulars is provided to you within two months of the start of your contract of employment then you can apply to the Employment Tribunal within three months after the date your employment ends for a determination of your particulars.

Which documents could make up your contract of employment

Your contractual terms may be comprised of a number of documents, including:

  • Your contract of employment (if applicable)
  • Staff handbook
  • Collective agreement
  • Your offer letter from your employer

The terms may also be verbally agreed or implied by law.

What happens if your employer breaches your contract

Your contract of employment may be broken if you or your employer does not comply with a term in your contract – this is commonly known as a “breach of contract”. For example, if your employer fails to pay you your wages or to pay you for your notice period.

If you believe that your employer breaches your contract of employment then you should normally do the following in the following order:

  • Raise the matter informally with your employer
  • Raise a grievance with your employer
  • Take advice from a specialist employment lawyer on the breach of contract

What happens if you are offered a job and that job offer is then withdrawn

 

What happens if your employer wants to change your employment contract

If your employer wants to try and change your contract then the consequences of this will depend upon whether these changes were agreed with you.

If your employer changed your contract with your consent (e.g. your employer increases or decreases your pay with your agreement) then the variation would be unlawful.

If your employer changes your contract without your consent then that variation would not be recognised as lawful. However, if you don’t object to the change within a reasonable period of time then you may be deemed to have “waived” the breach – you must therefore object to the proposed change in your contract as soon as possible.

You should obtain specialist advice from an employment solicitor if your employer is trying to change your contract terms without your consent.

Termination of a contract of employment

Your contract of employment will normally be terminated by you resigning from your job or your employer dismissing you.

If you are resigning from your job then you should normally give the requisite period of contractual or statutory notice, whichever is longer.

Summary dismissal is dismissal without notice and should only be used for gross misconduct, where a situation occurs that is so serious (such as theft, violence, fraud) that the employer gives no notice. However, employers should investigate the circumstances before making a dismissal and follow a fair procedure even in these cases

Other types of contracts

There are other types of contract that you may be working under in an employment relationship:

  1. A zero-hour contract; or
  2. A key time contract

You may also be what is known as an “employee shareholder”.

Illegal contract of employment

Your contract of employment may be illegal if:

  • You entered into it with the intention of permitting an unlawful act
  • Where the contract is expressly or impliedly prohibited by statute; and/or
  • Where a contract was lawful when it was made but it has been performed illegally

An illegal contract of employment will be void and the parties will therefore not be able to rely on its terms.

 

Call Redmans today to discuss your employment law matter

Call Redmans on 020 3397 3603 or email us at enquiries@redmans.co.uk to discuss your employment law matter.

Alternatively, you can call Chris Hadrill, the partner responsible for the employment department, on 020 3397 3601 or email him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk.

Call us
Chris Hadrill
Name: Chris Hadrill
Position: Partner
Email: chadrill@redmans.co.uk
Telephone: 020 3397 3601
View Chris' profile

Disability discrimination

Our guide explains that you can't be discriminated against because you are disabled. It covers rights your right to have reasonable adjustments made to the workplace to compensate your disability, your right not to be treated less favourably because you are disabled, and your right not to be subjected to a detriment as a consequence of your disability. It also includes a guide to what action you can potentially take if you believe that you are being discriminated against because you are disabled.

Basic rights at work

Rights at work includes the right to time off work, your contract of employment, your rights regarding health and safety, regarding trade unions, discrimination, harassment, bullying, harassment, victimization, and whistleblowing

Our awards

Request a callback

Your first name (required)

Your last name (required)

Your email (required)

Your telephone number (required)

Brief details of your enquiry

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.75 Average

193 Reviews

Mark W

Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Posted 4 weeks ago

submit

I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Wavenie B

They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

Posted 4 weeks ago

Christina P

Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

Posted 4 weeks ago

Helene L

They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

Posted 1 month ago

Sara R

Very helpful and wonderful advice

Posted 1 month ago

Marie D

very good service all digitalised

Posted 1 month ago

Philip H

Chris Hadrill handled my case with great accuracy and efficiency. Basically made it feel like a process without hassle. Doesn't try to expand the case just for greater fees. I value his professional advice highly.

Posted 1 month ago

Michael W

Professional, responsive and supportive - excellent service!

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I was really happy with the service provided. I had to chase a couple of time but despite that, my matter was dealt with in a timely manor. I would use again in the future

Posted 1 month ago

Lee M

Superb service and always available

Posted 1 month ago

Jonathan S

I was very grateful for the support I received from Redmans during a very difficult period. Rana Tandon really got under the skin of my issue and understood what was important to me, steering me carefully and sensibly to an outcome I was very happy with. I would recommend Redmans to anyone else without any reservations whatsoever.

Posted 1 month ago

Mohamed A

Super helpful and efficient, trustworthy service

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

efficient, responsive and effective

Posted 1 month ago

Andrew B

Very good service

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Excellent service, compassionate and a good outcome

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I had an employment issue which required legal advice. Chris was very supportive and knowledgeable, resulting in an optimum resolution in my favour. Would definitely recommend.

Posted 1 month ago

David M

Very professional and first-rate advice. I would use again. With thanks,

Posted 1 month ago