Contracts of Employment

A contract of employment is an agreement between an employer and a “worker” setting out he terms of their working relationship. NB – A worker is not necessarily an Employee

An “employee” always has a contract of employment with their employer and while the employee may not have anything in writing a contract will still exist.

An employer and employee can agree to whatever terms they wish to be in the contract but an employee cannot normally agree to a contractual term less that the Statutory Minimum.

All employees, irrespective of the number of hours they work, are entitled to a written statement of their main terms and conditions of employment, within two months of them starting work. If you fail to provide this to an Employee they can potentially make a claim for compensation in the Employment Tribunal.

A basic written statement would usually contain the following information:

The names of the employer and the employee; the date when the employment (and the period of continuous employment) began; the scale or rate of pay and the intervals at which it is to be paid; hours of work; holiday entitlement; entitlement to sick leave and sick pay.

This would be considered very basic, and if this sounds like the written statements you issue to Employees, you should seriously consider seeking legal assistance for developing these.

Construction contracts are usually very complex, so it is imperative that both Employers and Employees have a clear understanding of their duties and expectations from the outset of the Employment relationship. For that reason we would encourage Employers to construct a more complex contract for their employees to agree to before starting their employment.

At Silver Shemmings, we can help with either drafting such contracts from scratch, or reviewing your current contracts to ensure that they cover necessary areas to reduce the risk of disputes in work.

Most problems regarding Employment contracts stem from three areas:

  •  Interpretation of a contract is unclear,
  • When an employer wishes to change the terms of a contract, or
  • If a contract is jeopardised by unforeseen circumstances, such as the sale of a business.

 We provide advice on all of the above.


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