Contracts of Employment

What is a contract of employment

Contracts of employment, by definition, are legally binding agreements between an employer and an employee. They consist of express terms written into the employment contract and implied terms which are not expressly stated. Although employment contracts are governed by contract law, there are many statutory rules which affect employment contracts too.

The Legal Position

A contract of employment is in many respects no different from any other contract into which two parties might enter. As such, it is governed by contract law, which means that there needs to be:

an offer of employment by the employer, which should be clear and unambiguous, and may be conditional

acceptance of that offer by the employee

consideration between the parties, for example the work done by the employee in return for the wages paid by the employer

an intention to create a legally binding arrangement.

What is a written statement of particulars

The essential elements of the written statement of particulars of employment are set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996, as amended by the Employment Act 2002. Some information must be included in one document while other information can be delivered in instalments.

Items to be included in the main document:

names of the employer and employee

date when employment began

date on which the employee’s continuous employment began

scale or rate of remuneration or the method of calculating the remuneration

intervals at which remuneration is paid, that is, weekly, monthly or other specified intervals

terms and conditions relating to hours of work, including any terms and conditions relating to normal working hours

terms and conditions relating to entitlement to holidays, including public holidays and holiday pay, in such a manner as to allow them to be precisely calculated

job title or a brief description of the type of work the employee is employed to do

place of work or an indication that an employee is required or permitted to work at various locations.

Items that can be provided in instalments:

terms and conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, including any provision for sick pay

terms and conditions relating to pensions and pension schemes

length of notice the employee is required to give and receive to terminate the contract

where the employment is not intended to be permanent, the length it is intended to last, or the end date if it is for a fixed term

any collective agreements, which directly affect the terms and conditions of employment, including where the employer is not a party, the persons by whom they were made

where the employee is required to work outside the UK for a period of one month or more, details of the time they are to work abroad, the currency in which they will be paid, any additional remuneration payable and any benefits provided by reason of working outside the UK and any terms relating to the employee’s return to the UK.

Where there are no particulars to be entered under any of these headings, then that fact should be stated, and all the above information should be given to the employee.

While the Employment Rights Act 1996 states certain items that must be included in the written statement of particulars, employers can refer their employees to their employee handbook or other policies for precise details of issues such as:

documents relating to disciplinary and grievance rules and procedures

documents relating to sickness and pensions

documents relating to the detail of bonus or commission schemes

collective agreements

other terms that are not mandatory terms (for example, private health care, overtime, holiday arrangements, retirement).

The written statement may additionally contain other clauses that an employer wishes to rely on. Where an offer letter or written contract sets out the main employment terms and conditions, this can satisfy the requirements of the written statement.

The written statement of particulars must be provided within two months of the employment starting.

There are exceptions to the requirement to provide a written statement of particulars for those employed for one month or less, or for employees in particular categories. However, it may still be advisable and good practice to provide such employees with a written statement to avoid dispute.

not sure what to do next?

At Cluer HR, we are extremely experienced in drafting contracts of employment which offer both flexibility and protection to our clients. Perhaps yours were written some time ago and are a little out of date? Please get in touch to see how we can help.

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