Contracts of Employment
Typically, a contract of employment is provided to a new employee (or an existing employee when required) upon employment. The principal purpose of the contract of employment is to define the terms in which the employer and employee relationship will operate.
A contract of employment can be both written and verbal. As part of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee is entitled to a “written statement of particulars” after being in employment for 2 months / 8weeks. The written statement is not a complete contract of employment as such but should include matters such as:
Hours of work
Place of Work
The written statement does not have to include, but the majority do, details relating to your employer’s policies such as a grievance policy, sickness and disciplinary policy. These are typically contained within an employee handbook or addendum to the written statement.
In the absence of any written statement, the terms of your employment would be based under statutory provisions and what is referred to a ‘implied terms’ which are derived by performance.
It is difficult for an employer to change expressed (written) contractual terms without mutual consent as most contain a provision to unilaterally change your contractual terms without your prior consent. If your terms are through an implied (oral) contract this may be more difficult for either party to establish, thus requiring the potential intervention of the Employment Tribunal.
Most employees hold a misconception that if you do not sign your written statement (most likely as you do not agree with the terms imposed within) that this would render the statement invalid. This is not quite the case and a little misguided. It is possible to work under protest, i.e. under a contract that you have not signed however this must be made clear to the employer, preferably in written expression. If you do not sign the written statement but continue to perform the duties and terms of the statement, your performance may in itself be deemed formal acceptance.
With offices in Leicester and Market Harborough we are willing to discuss your employment law claim at any of our offices. Lawson-West are a national provider of expert employment law advice and welcome a free discussion with you regarding you circumstances and potential claim. If you believe you have a situation where you require free legal advice, please contact us on telephone 01162121000 or 01858 445480.