What is a contract of employment?
A contract of employment (or employment contract) is a written document which sets out the terms (the rights and obligations) between the employee and their employer. The law states that all employees should be given a Statement of Particulars (meaning a written statement containing the key details regarding their employment terms and conditions). Most employers provide a written contract. This must be provided on their first day of employment. This has changed from the previous position that one had to be provided within two months of starting work.
Employers can face claims for between 2 and 4 weeks’ pay by employees who don’t have a written contract.
The law also requires that the contract has specific information included in it as a minimum, such as details about the individual’s continuity of service (the date they began with the employer), their role, salary, benefits, working hours etc.
The contract of employment is also an important document as it sets out what the individual’s status is. If it is an employment contract then they will be an employee. If they are a worker, the contract may be called something different, and it will have slightly different terms. However, it will still explain the worker’s rights and obligations.
In addition to the written terms, contracts of employment also contain implied terms. These are included regardless of whether the employer and the employee want them, the main one being the implied term of mutual trust and confidence which is relied upon by both parties: be it the employer with a disciplinary matter for misconduct, or the employee in a potential constructive dismissal situation.
It is important (particularly for employers) to have up to date contracts of employment in place, as these act to help protect the employer as well as the employee.
Other types of contracts are also required
You can have other types of contracts in place for individuals who will work either as a volunteer, an intern or apprentice, or if the person is self employed.
With use of a self-employed individual, the contract would usually take the form of a consultant agreement or terms of service (as the individual or their company are supplying their services). It may be the self-employed person has their own terms (called terms of business) which they want the employer to agree to.
If you need assistance with drafting contracts for your business, or as an employee you want to understand what terms you have received, contact Swan Craig Solicitors who can can advise you. For more information, contact us today.