By law, an employer must provide anyone who’s classed as an employee with the terms of their employment in writing (a ‘written statement of employment particulars’).
What an employer must provide in writing
An employment contract begins when the employee starts work, even if there’s nothing in writing.
The contract might begin even earlier if all the following apply:
- someone accepted the job offer verbally or in writing
- the offer was unconditional or the person met all the conditions (for example, the employer was satisfied with their references)
- the employer set out the terms of the job in a clear and definite way, verbally or in writing
Terms of a contract
An employment contract is made up of:
- specific terms agreed in writing (‘express terms’), such as the employee’s pay and working hours
- terms that are part of employment law (‘statutory terms’)
- terms too obvious to be written (‘implied terms’) – it can still be a good idea to put these in writing, so everyone’s clear about their rights and responsibilities
- terms put into the contract from other sources (‘incorporated terms’) such as a staff handbook or an agreement affecting many employees
Information in the contract must follow the law. For example, stating that an employee is paid £4 per hour would be against the law, because this amount is below the minimum wage.