Contracts of Employment

Must every employee have a written contract of employment?

No. Strictly speaking, there is no legal requirement for a written contract of employment between an employer and an employee. 

However, an employer is legally required to provide the employee with a “written statement of terms” within two months of their start date.

What must a “written statement of terms” contain?

The written statement of terms must state:

  • The names of employer and employee
  • The date employment began
  • Any previous continuous employment period
  • The pay rate, how it is calculated and when it is payable
  • Hours of work with any special rules that apply
  • Holiday entitlement including public holidays and holiday pay
  • Sick pay entitlement
  • If there are any pension rights and any contracting out certificate
  • Length of notice to terminate employment
  • Job title and a brief description of work the employee will do
  • Place of work or any requirement to work at different addresses
  • Any trade union or collective agreements in force
  • If the employee will be required to work outside the UK
  • If the employment is intended to be permanent; or if it is for a fixed term, the intended termination date

Can a written statement of terms include anything else?

Yes. Employers may also wish to include

  • Restrictive covenants to try to stop employees unfairly competing with the company after their employment is terminated
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures (although these no longer have to be included in the contract since April 2009)
  • Definitions of what constitutes “confidential information”
  • More extensive requirements in an Employee Handbook for the company’s day-to-day running

What happens if employers fail to provide one?

If an employer fails to provide a written statement of terms, an employee can complain to an Employment Tribunal.  The Tribunal cannot make an award of compensation for the failure in its own right, but can if it is brought on the back of another claim.

What happens if my employer does not pay me?

This would be a claim for unlawful deduction of wages as well as a breach of contract.  We could advise you on this type of claim, which can be brought in the Employment Tribunal, or in a Civil Court. 

What happens if my employer breaches my contract?

We can assist you with this.  It may result in a constructive dismissal claim. 

Helping you with your Contracts of Employment issues

Spratt Endicott can help you by reviewing:

  • Contracts of employment
  • Employee handbooks
  • Consultancy agreement
  • Secondment agreements
  • All other types of relationship between a worker and the employer

At times, we can do this in a fixed fee meeting. For more details, please get in touch.

Getting in touch

To learn more about our Contracts of Employment service, please contact Carol Shaw on 01295 204140 or email