Just been hired? - Employment Contracts

Your employment contract is an important legal document so you need to take the time to look at it closely and become familiar with it. It will contain legally binding ‘terms’ on both you and your employer, which if breached, could lead to a breach of contract claim.

Your employment contract will contain a number of important things:

Agreed terms of employment

Your employment contract will outline the details of the job, as agreed by you and your employer. It will outline your pay, such as how much you will be paid and when. It will also outline the number of hours you are expected to work and the number of days you can have off for holidays.

You should check these terms match your understanding of the job offer.

Your employment rights

Your employment contract will contain all your employment rights and obligations. If it does not, it should point you to where you can find them, such as your employee handbook.

Every employee has their minimum employment rights protected by the government and employment legislation. Your employer cannot diminish these rights but they can add to them. These rights include:

  • The right to maternity / paternity / adoption leave
  • The right to paid holiday leave
  • Redundancy rights

Your employment contract will set out your statutory rights and the additional rights that your employer has given you.

Your employer’s obligations

Your employment contract should set out your employer’s obligations. For example, it should contain the amount of notice your employer must give you of your dismissal or redundancy, and their obligation to pay you throughout your notice.

Employment procedures

Employment contracts should set out the procedure that your employer will use when disciplining or dismissing you. If your employer does not follow the procedures set out in your employment contract, you may have a wrongful dismissal claim against them.

A good employment contract will also outline the conduct or poor performance that can lead to your dismissal, including the conduct that could lead to your instant or ‘summary’ dismissal.

Implied terms

If your employer has provided you with a written employment contract, it may not contain all the terms of your employment. This is because certain terms are implied into your employment contract by the law. Implied terms include those that are necessary to make the contract work, such as the duty of mutual trust and respect owed by the employer and employee towards each other. In addition, terms can be implied if they are obvious or assumed, or if they are normal practice or custom for your employer. You can claim against your employer for breaching an implied term as well as a written term of your contract.

Written statement of employment particulars

Your employer is not legally obligated to provide you with a written employment contract but this does not mean you do not have one. Your employment contract is automatically created the moment you start working for your employer. 

However, your employer must provide you with a written statement of employment particulars by the time you have been employed with them for two months. The statement of employment particulars contains the main terms and conditions of your job, including;

  • Pay
  • Job title
  • Hours of work
  • Pension scheme
  • Notice
  • Sick pay

Job Justice can help

If you think you need some legal advice regarding your employment contract, we can put you in touch with one of our specialist employment solicitors. Simply call us for free on 0800 533 5799 or fill in the online contact form and we’ll be in touch to discuss your situation.


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