All employees have an employment contract with their employer, although it might notbe in writing. If you don’t have a written employment contract, your contract would haveautomatically been created when you started to work for your employer.
What is an employment contract?
An employment contract, or ‘contract of employment’, is an agreement between an employer and anemployee which sets out their employment rights, responsibilities and duties. These are called the ‘terms' of the contract.Your employment contract doesn’t have to be in writing. However, you are entitled to a written statement of your main employment terms within two months of starting work.The employment contract is made as soon as you accept a job offer. If you start work it will show that youaccepted the job on the terms offered by the employer, even if you don’t know what they are. Having awritten contract could cut out disputes with your employer at a later date, and will help you understand youremployment rights.You and your employer are bound to the employment contract until it ends (usually by giving notice) or untilthe terms are changed (usually in an agreement between you and your employer).
Terms of an employment contract
The terms of your employment contract could be of several different types, some of which do not need to bewritten down. You should be aware of what the terms of your employment contract are, so thatyou understand some of your employment rights.
Written statement of employment particulars
If you are an employee who has been working for your employer for longer than one month, you have theright to receive a written statement of employment particulars. This must be provided by your employerwithin two months of you starting, even if you are going to work for them for less than two months. Thewritten statement will set out some of your main employment rights.
Contract to provide services
If you have a ‘contract to provide services’ or a 'contract for services' with someone, then this is differentfrom an employment contract and generally means you are self employed.A contract to provide services is an agreement between you and another person to undertake some work forthem (for example paint their house). You do not become an ‘employee’ for this person - you just providethem with a service.If you are a temporary agency worker you may be contracted with your agency under a 'contract forservices'. Your agency, as an employment business, will be obliged to provide you with a written contract.
What to do if you have a problem
If you have a problem you should first try to sort out the problem with your employer. You could contact theAdvisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services (Acas) for help, or visit the employment useful contactssection for other contacts. If you have an employee representative, such as a trade union official, they maybe able to help.If you cannot resolve the problem with your employer you may be able to make a claim to an EmploymentTribunal
Employment contract terms
The terms of an employment contract set out what you and your employer can expect of each other. There are several different types and some do not need to be written down inyour employment contract.
Where do contract terms come from?
Contract terms can come from a number of different sources; for example they could be:
in a written contract, or similar document
in an employee handbook or on a company notice board