An employment contract is a legal relationship between an employer and an employee.  The employer should check the employment status of the person they’re employing.

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’).


Setting clear expectations for both parties, employment contracts contribute to the foundational culture of your business. Done right, employment contracts are a source of motivation, of enthusiasm, and of mutual respect. We ensure that legal and procedural compliance boxes are ticked, while also making employment contracts valuable to all involved..

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.

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