Employees' Right to a Written Contract

Employees have a right to a written contract of employment. New employees must receive theirs within 8 weeks of starting work.

With HR and Employment Law becoming increasingly complicated, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the basics. One of the basic rights of all employees is to have a written statement of the terms under which they are employed which we usually wrap up as a contract of Employment

Whilst it is acceptable for the terms of employment to be laid out in a letter, we strongly recommend that a contract is used. Apart from providing additional gravitas, a standardised contract means that you are consistent across all employees and all of their terms and obligations can be covered. Equally, the employee will be happier fully understanding the terms under which they are employed and their own obligations to the company. 

The contract should contain the explicit terms under which the employee will work including job title, start date, remuneration, working hours, and holiday entitlement. We also recommend that it states the employee’s place of work, including any potential variations of where they may work; a different office or store for example. This isn’t a complete list of clauses the contract should contain, but you get the idea.

Any terms not stated in the contract will revert to statutory so we encourage employers to be as comprehensive as possible. Terms that affect all employees, like the disciplinary procedure, should appear in the staff handbook and references made to this where appropriate.

It’s a legal requirement that any new employees must receive their contract, ie their written terms of employment, within eight weeks of starting work. Failure to this could result in a fine and will be looked upon dimly should a matter ever go to tribunal.

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