Contract of Employment Law

An employment contract forms the initial foundations of any working relationship between an employer and an employee. Most employment contracts do not need to be written to be legally valid, but it is recommended they are for the benefit of all parties concerned.  Also, employers can have awards against them if they fail to issue at least a basic written employment contract.  Even if a written contract isn't drafted, printed and signed, a contract begins as soon as an offer of employment is accepted by an individual. Generally speaking, when an employee begins working for an employee, this means they accept the terms and conditions offered by an employer.

What Employers Need to Know

If you're an employer, employment and tax responsibilities to your employees can vary widely depending on the type of contract awarded to your employers and their employment status. If you are employing individuals on a full or part-time basis, you'll always need to present them with a written statement of employment or contract. This type of contract should present information about the minimum level of paid holiday available to them, include information about Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and provide information about rest breaks, amongst other matters. As a minimum, employment contracts should contain information about pay, working hours and holidays. If you're employing individuals on a fixed-term contract, a written agreement is recommended, laying out the specifics of the employment period and what is expected of the individual. Fixed-term employees must receive the same treatment and conditions as permanent staff.

Essential Information for Employees

If you're an employee moving into a new position, it's worth remembering that an employer is required to provide you with a written contract to sign within two months of starting. However, all employees have an employment contract with their employer written or not. Even if you aren't asked to sign a printed document, you'll need to ensure you've been presented with all the information regarding your employment before accepting a position, including employment conditions, your rights, responsibilities and duties. These are referred to as the terms of your contract. These terms then form the foundation of your employment agreement and must be adhered to for the length of your contract.

What Constitutes a Breach of Contract?

A termination of employment contract can occur because either party, the employer or employee, has broken the terms of employment. In the case of an employer, a breach of contract can occur when they change the terms of the contract or make changes to a contract without the knowledge and consent of an employee. Depending on the exact circumstances, the employee and wronged party may be able to claim compensation against their employer for such a breach. An employer also has the right to pursue termination or claim damages against an employee if they breach the terms of their employment contract. Other than not adhering to specific terms in a contract, common breaches by an employee include quitting a position without giving or working proper notice, as well as pursuing employment with a direct competitor.

Need your questions about employment contracts answered? Speak to the professionals at Davies and Partners Solicitors today. We're experts in employment law, with offices in London and across the UK. Give us a call or send us a message via the online enquiry form to discuss your concerns today.

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