Contracts of Employment

An employer is required to provide an employee with a written statement of certain specified particulars of their employment, this is often done using written contracts of employment. If you need advice on the contents and terms of a contract of employment or require assistance in the drafting of a contract we can help.

For there to be a binding contract, there must be an intention to create legal relations. The objective conduct of the parties must be considered when determining intention, not their subjective states of mind.

There are no particular formalities that have to be observed for entering into an employment contract. A contract may be express or implied, oral or in writing. There is no legal requirement for an employee to have a written contract of employment. However, section1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 requires an employee to be given a statement of certain specified terms within two months of starting employment.

A section 1 statement is not necessarily a contract of employment in itself. It may simply be a statement of what has already been agreed orally or in writing. If there is no separate written contract, the section 1 statement will be persuasive evidence as to the terms of the contract of employment between the parties. If, however, there is a separate written contract, the section 1 statement cannot override a term recorded in that contract. The contract itself always takes precedence.

If an employment contract is in writing, it usually only requires simple signatures. In the employment context, this will usually mean that there is one signature for the employee and one for and on behalf of the employer, without the requirement for either to be witnessed.

Where any person works for another for remuneration there is a contractual relationship. The lack of written evidence in the form of a written contract does not nullify that contractual relationship.

There is no requirement for a contract to be in writing. Within two months of starting employment employees must be issued with a written statement of the terms and conditions under which they are employed. This statement must set out:-

  • The name of the employer and employee;
  • The date when the employment began and the date when the employee’s period of continuous employment began;
  • The method of calculating pay and the intervals at which it would be paid.
  • Holidays and holiday pay;
  • Hours of work including any terms relating to normal working hours
  • Sickness notification and payment;
  • Length of notice;
  • Job title;
  • Disciplinary and grievance rules.

Contractual terms may be express, (i.e., actually written down) or implied (i.e. not written down but obvious). Conditions may also be implied because of custom and practice or by being accepted by the behaviour of both parties.

Once terms and conditions have been agreed neither party may vary the contract unilaterally. Before a contract may be varied by the employer in any substantial way the employee must agree.

We can assist you with the drafting of contracts and advising on variation of contracts of employment.

Contact our Employment Team on 0800 088 6280 or send us an email to