A valid UK employment contract is required between all employees and employers. The contract is a legally binding agreement that lays out an employee’s employment conditions, rights, responsibilities and duties. An employment contract provides guidelines and expectations to be met by both parties of the agreement.
Without a valid UK employment contract, an employer has no legal basis to enforce his or her expectations and an employee is not properly informed of his or her basic rights in relation to the company.
By creating a personalised and comprehensive UK employment contract, an employer can create a strong and stable legal foundation on which to build a sustainable and well-supported company.
A UK Employment Contract Establishes Expectations Legally
Employees and employers must stick to an employment contract until it is terminated. An employment contract can be terminated by an employer or employee giving notice, an employee being dismissed or if the terms of the contract are changed by agreement between the employer and employee.
As soon as someone accepts a job offer they have a contract for work. However, an employment contract outlines legally enforceable expectations arising from the employment relationship.
The legal parts of a contract are known as ‘terms’ and an employer should clearly specify which parts of a contract are legally binding. Contract terms can be presented to employees in different forms, including:
- In a written contract, or similar document like a written statement of employment
- A verbal agreement
- In an employee handbook or a company notice board
- In an offer letter from the employer
- Required by law (eg: paying employees at least the National Minimum Wage)
- In collective agreements, which are negotiated agreements between employers and trade unions or staff associations
Be Aware Of Implied Terms In Your UK Employment Contract
There are also legally binding implied terms that can exist in a contractual relationship between employer and employee which are automatically part of a contract even if they are not written down. It is sensible to be aware of such implied terms and their contractually binding nature to avoid any surprises down the road. Even when there is nothing clearly agreed to between you and your employer concerning a particular issue, it may be covered by an implied term.
A few examples of implied terms include: employees not stealing from their employer, your employer providing a safe and secure working environment and employees abiding by general company procedures. Knowing about implied terms helps to ensure that an employer doesn’t escape liability on the misunderstanding that only explicit terms in the employment contract matter. Being a responsible employee and a responsible employer means knowing the full extent of one’s rights.
Make Sure Your UK Employment Contract Is In Writing
As a matter of security, employment contracts should always be in writing. Oral agreements are usually invalid and are difficult to prove should conflicts arise. Written contracts are clear and provide evidence for both parties. It is important for an employer to be held accountable and for an employee to fulfil his or her obligations as outlined in the contract.
By ensuring that the employment contract is clear and easily accessible, it is less likely that disputes will arise because both the employer and the employee know what is expected from the employment relationship. Additionally, in the unfortunate event that a dispute does arise, having the employment contract as a reference will prevent the likelihood of a dispute going to court. A quick reference to the employment contract can help resolve the matter.
A UK employment contract doesn’t just affect the employee, but also the employer; it gives both parties the opportunity to outline their expectations and rights within the company. So before the employee signs the contract, the contract and its terms should be explained to the employee. The employee should be given a chance to respond with requests and to ask for amendments.
After a short period of consideration, the employer can then request that the employee sign the contract after giving the employee an opportunity to review any amendments. Once the contract is signed by the the employer and the employee, both parties are entered into a binding agreement.
The formality of a contract such as an employment contract can be complicated. To ensure that all the necessary terms are outlined in the contract, employers should seek professional advise.
Need A Legally Binding UK Employment Contract?
Linkilaw is committed to supporting companies focused on creating a strong legal foundation for their business by providing cost-effective, personalised legal advice and documentation. Click the image below and get a bespoke Employment Agreement. This will set out your employees’ rights, responsibilities, and obligations in writing with a legal contract.