What is an employment contract and what should be in one? This guide explains how the terms and agreements in a contract of employment work.
EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT UK: In simple terms it is a verbal or a written agreement.
A contractual agreement between an employer and an employee forms the basis of an employment relationship.
Thus, everyone starting a job has entitlement to a contract of employment with their employer.
As a rule, employment contracts set out a list of terms and agreements. They include employment conditions, duties, rights, and responsibilities.
There is a legal requirement for employers and their employees to follow the 'terms' in a contract. Both parties must do so until the end of the contract. Typical reasons for an employment contract to end include:
Note: There is a difference between an employment contract and a 'contract to provide services'. Having an agreement to do some work for someone would be providing a service (e.g. mowing their lawn).
Accepting a job offer means an individual already has a contract with an employer. There is no legal requirement for an employment contract to be in a written format. But, having a written contract of employment is always a safer option.
The 'terms' form the legal parts in employment contracts. Thus, employers must make it clear which parts are 'legally' binding. These are typical examples of where you find employment contract terms.
Some issues may not have 'clear' definitions stated in employment contract. In cases such as these, you and your employer can use 'implied terms'. Some examples include:
Some employers make 'collective agreements' with representatives of their employees. Often, they are from staff associations or trade unions. It allows negotiations of terms and conditions such as working hours or pay. General terms of a collective agreement would usually include:
The UK laws of employment do not force employers to make written contracts for employees. But, they should provide all new workers with a written statement of basic terms and conditions. This should get done within sixty (60) days of an individual starting work. This statement must include:
A written statement of employment particulars is a legal requirement. The written statement forms part of your employment contract. But, a 'written' contract of employment is not. It can be a verbal agreement.
The contractual agreement should include some essential employment characteristics. They may be express terms or implied. But, a contract still exists between an employer and an employee - even with no written terms.
It will also include the legal aspects and constraints put upon the employer. It will include the legal requirement to pay at least the minimum wage. The statutory allowance for annual leave is also a mandatory consideration.
Note: None of the foregoing need to be in writing, except for written notices, handbook etc.
Many workers start a job without knowing what the contract actually involves. But, by doing so, they will have agreed to the terms of employment as laid down by that employer.
You cannot afterwards claim ignorance in not knowing what the terms are. Verbal agreement is binding upon you and your employer for the full term of your employment. The contract can only get changed with negotiation between both parties.
Contract of Employment Definition in the United Kingdom