Contract of Employment

A contract is an agreement that sets out an employee’s:

  • employment conditions
  • rights
  • responsibilities
  • duties

Employees and employers must stick to a contract until it ends (e.g. by an employer or employee giving notice) or until the terms are changed (usually by agreement between the employee and the employer).

The legal parts of a contract are known as the ‘terms’. An employer should make clear which parts of a contract are legally binding.

Contract terms could be:

  • in a written contract, or similar document like a written statement of employment
  • verbally agreed
  • in company literature such as the employee handbook
  • in an offer letter from the employer
  • required by law (e.g. an employer must pay employees at least the National Minimum Wage)
  • in collective agreements – negotiated agreements between employers and trade unions or staff associations
  • implied terms – automatically part of a contract even if they’re not written down

Implied terms, examples of an implied term include;

  • employees not stealing from their employer
  • your employer providing a safe and secure work environment
  • something necessary to do the job like a driver having a license
  • something that’s been done regularly in a company over a long time like paying a Christmas bonus

If there’s nothing clearly agreed between you and your employer about a particular issue, it may be covered by an implied term. If you think your employer has breached your contract, try to sort it out with them direct, or raise a grievance, if that doesn’t solve the problem you may be able to make a claim to the employment tribunal.

For free initial advice from the Hethertons’ Employment Law Team, please give us a call on 01904 528200.

The Team

Gillian Reid

Head of Department

Andrew Macaulay

Assistant Solicitor

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