Law guide: Employment

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The employment contract

The employment contract

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Contents

Employment statement

Under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (or under Part III of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996), you are obliged to provide each of your employees with a written statement or an employment contract setting out certain terms and conditions that govern your employment relationship, so that they are aware of the main terms of their employment. Such a written statement is commonly called an 'employment statement'. You are not required to provide such details to employees whose employment does not last for at least one month.

All of your employees must receive an employment statement within two months of their employment commencing.

Required contents of an employment statement

An employment statement must contain all of the essential elements of a contract including the following information:

1. The names of the employer and employee

2. The employee's job title and/or a brief description of the work that they will be doing

3. Place of work or an indication that the employee may work at various places and if that is the case provide a list of those places (where known) including the employer's address

4. Certain details where the employee is required to work outside of the UK for more than one month

5. The date on which the continuous employment began including any period of continuous employment with a previous employer

6. Details of the scale/rate of remuneration and intervals of pay

7. Terms and conditions relating to hours of work including normal hours of work and contractual overtime

8. Where the employment is not intended to be permanent, the period for which it is expected to continue, or if a fixed-term contract, its expiry date

9. Details of holiday entitlement, including public holidays and holiday pay (and sufficient information to allow precise calculation of entitlement)

10. Terms and conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, including provisions relating to sick pay

11. Rules relating to pensions and pension schemes

12. The length of notice required by each party

13. The name of the person to whom the employee can appeal to if they are dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision

14. The name of the person to whom the employee can apply to if they wish to raise any grievance relating to their employment

15. Disciplinary rules or details of where they can be found

16. Dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures and explanation of the steps you will take after receiving a disciplinary appeal or grievance or details of where they can be found

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

18. Any other term which in view of its importance is an essential part of the contract

Items 10 to 12 and 15 and 16 may be contained in separate documents such as an employment handbook as long as they are easily accessible, or in a supplemental employment statement. The rest must be placed within a single statement.

If there are any changes to the employment statement that you give to any one or more of your employees then you must give them a written statement setting out the details of the change within one month of the change taking effect.

If you fail to provide an employee with a written statement, provide an incomplete statement or fail to inform an employee of a change, and an employment tribunal finds that you have unfairly dismissed or discriminated against that employee then they may award up to four weeks' pay to that employee in addition to any other sum to which that employee is entitled to receive in compensation.