Employment Contracts

Woman Signing An Employment Contract

Your contract of employment is a legally binding document that sets out all the specifics of your conditions of work; your pay rate and working hours for example, as well as any number of more intricate details. 

Your contract may give you benefits over and above those offered by your employment rights (such as extra sick pay or holiday), or it may entitle you to simply the legal minimum. For this, and other reasons, it is of course of vast importance that you make sure to read over your contract carefully before signing.

The details of each contract naturally vary from employer to employer, and also differ depending on the type of work, be it full or part time, or freelance for example.

Contractual disagreements

Should you, as an employee, find a problem with any of the terms contained in the contract, the first port of call should be to try to resolve it internally (that is, talk it over with your employer). However, if this does not lead to a solution, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services (ACAS) are there to help and will be able to offer significant advice and assistance, as will a relevant trade union official.

If none of these avenues lead to a satisfactory result, it is worth taking the claim to an Employment Tribunal.

Contract for services

One form of contractual agreement between employee and employer is a 'contract for services', by which the employee is essentially self employed and providing a service for the employer, rather than being in full employment under the countersignatory (ie the employer). This is often the sort of contract under which an agency worker will operate and for a freelance worker, this can take the form of a verbal contract. 

New employment

When beginning new employment, the employee must be provided with a standard or revised contact within two months of the start date. This contract can be verbal, but in most cases is written, and if so, it must be signed and dated by both employee and employer in two forms, one retained by each party. If the employment is through an agency, then a third copy is needed, which is kept in the employers file with said agency or organisation.

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