The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Types of Contract

Types of Employment Contracts

It is important for employers to understand the key differences in employment contracts. This guide explains the different contract types and employer responsibilities.

CONTRACT TYPES: UK employers have tax and employment liabilities for their staff. Different types of employment contracts include:

It is a worker's contract type of employment status that determines the extent of their employer's responsibilities.

Note: Special employment rules apply for employing family members, young people, or volunteers.

Full-time and Part-time Employment Contracts

If you employer workers you must give your employees:

  1. A written statement of employment or contract.
  2. The statutory minimum level of paid holiday and length of workplace rest breaks.
  3. A payslip which shows all deductions (e.g. Tax and NIC).
  4. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
  5. Maternity, paternity and adoption pay and leave.

United Kingdom contract types and employer responsibilities mean you must also:

Fixed-term Employment Contracts

Employers must treat fixed-term employees the same as full-time permanent staff. The 4 key differences with fixed-term contracts are:

  1. They last for a set length of time.
  2. They are set out in advance.
  3. They end when a specific task reached completion.
  4. They end when a specific event has taken place.

Hiring Agency Staff

Employers can hire temporary staff through employment agencies. But, you should be aware of the agency workers regulations which means:

If You Hire Consultants, Contractors, or Freelancers

Hiring a consultant, a contractor, or a freelancer means:

Zero Hour Employment Contract (casual contracts)

Most employers call zero hour types of employment contracts 'casual contracts'. It is because zero hour contract types are for 'piece workers' or for those who do 'on call' work.

For example, an interpreter would usually have a zero hour contract because:

  1. They are available for on call to work when you need them.
  2. You do not need to give them regular work.
  3. They do not need to conduct the work even want them to.

People with zero hour contracts have entitlement to statutory annual leave. They must also get National Minimum Wage rates in the same way that regular workers do.

You cannot stop a zero hours worker getting work from anywhere else. In fact, employment laws state they can even ignore a clause in their contract that bans them from:

  1. Searching for work.
  2. Accepting work from a different employer.

Note: You are still responsible for workplace health and safety of staff on zero hour contracts.

Family Members, Young people, or Volunteers

Employing Family Members

All employers who hire family members must:

Employing Voluntary Staff and Volunteers

If you take on any volunteers or voluntary staff you:

Employing Young People

If you employ young people they must be at least 13 years or older. But, you must also follow special rules on how long they can work and what type of jobs they can do. You must perform a health and safety risk assessment before you take on young workers.

Note: They get classed as an 'adult worker' once they turn 18 and different rules then apply.

As a rule, young people have certain employment rights which include:

Different rules apply for young workers and apprentices on the National Minimum Wage.

Contract Types and Employer Responsibilities in the United Kingdom