An Employment Contract is typically a written statement between an employee and their employer. It lays out the terms and conditions of employment, including the employment conditions, the rights, responsibilities and duties of an employee.
It is important to include these terms and conditions in an Employment Contract so that both employer and employee are aware of their responsibilities going forward and clear any rules and regulations regarding the job.
This article will detail the terms and conditions of an Employment Contract and what employment policies are required by law.
What are the terms and conditions of an Employment Contract?
An Employment Contract details the rights and responsibilities - the ‘contractual terms’ - of both the employer and the employee.
For an employee, they must be paid for the work they do, and for the employer they have the right to give the employee reasonable instructions for them to work.
These terms and conditions are set out in addition to the employment policies required by law, such as the right to be paid the National Minimum Wage and the right to paid holidays and sick pay.
As soon as someone accepts a job offer, they have a contract with their employer. Both parties must adhere to the Employment Contract until it ends or until the terms of the contract are changed by agreement between the employee and employer.
A contract might be broken if either the employee or employer breaches one of the terms of the agreement, for example, unfair dismissal or dismissal without notice.
What is the difference between express and implied terms?
This contract of employment comprises two types of contractual terms, and these are express terms and implied terms.
Express terms are terms in the contract of employment which have been agreed upon between employee and employer. These include:
- How much will the employee get paid
- The employee’s hours of work (there is a legal limit for most employees on the maximum number of hours they can work each week)
- Holiday pay (and how much holiday pay the employee is entitled to).
- Sick pay
- Redundancy pay
- How much notice must the employer give if the employee is dismissed
Express terms might also be found in:
- The job advertisement
- A written statement of the terms and conditions
- Anything the employee signed when they started working
- Any letters sent by the employer to the employee before they began to work
- Instructions made by the employer on a notice board at work
- An office manual or staff handbook
A contract is typically written down, but not always. Therefore, the employee should note anything their employer tells them before they get the job about the terms and conditions of being an employee, any rights at work, and any details about pay.
Implied terms in an Employment Contract are not necessarily expressed in the contract or orally between the employer and employee but still form part of the agreement between the two parties.
Include terms that might be obvious to both the employee and employer, so there is no need to express them. Implied terms include:
- A duty of trust between employee and employer. This might involve the employer trusting that the employee will be honest about any times they are not working, perhaps through illness or a family commitment
- A duty of care between employee and employer, as well as towards other employees. This involves the employer providing a safe working environment and the employee using any equipment safely
- The duty of the employee to obey any ‘reasonable’ instructions set by their employer. There is no legal definition of ‘reasonable’, and hence it is included in implied terms
Do terms and conditions of employment include salary?
Yes, an Employment Contract or statement of particulars which must be provided to an employee on or before their first day of employment should contain details of how, when, and how much they will be paid.
The statement of particulars must also include:
- The employee’s name, job title or description of work, and start date
- Hours and days of work and if and how they may vary
- Holiday entitlement (and if that includes public holidays)
- The employee’s place of work
- If they will be required to work in different locations and where these will be
- How long a job is expected to last (and what the end date is if it’s a fixed-term contract)
- How long any probation period is, and what its conditions are
- Any other benefits (i.e. childcare vouchers, gym membership)
- Any mandatory training and whether you (the employer) will cover the cost
What legislation protects terms and conditions of employment?
The Employment Rights Act (ERA) 1996 is the predominant legislation that protects the terms and conditions of employment. It sets out the law on matters concerning:
- The protection of wages
- Zero-hours contracts
- Sunday working for shop and betting workers
- Protected disclosures
- Time off work (i.e. jury service)
- Maternity and paternity leave
- Unfair dismissal
The above list is far from exhaustive. Several other statutes protect the terms and conditions of employment, including the Equality Act 2010, Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, and the UK GDPR, to name but a few.
Can terms and conditions of employment be changed?
You can vary the terms and conditions of an Employment Contract; however, to avoid the risk of an Employment Tribunal claim, you must gain the consent of the affected employees.
If you wish to amend employment terms and conditions, you must inform affected employees in advance. In situations where there is a collective agreement, you will need to inform your employees’ representative.
Employees have the right to know:
- What the proposed changes are
- Who will be affected
- Why the changes may be needed
- When the proposed changes are implemented
- Any other options that have been considered
You must genuinely listen to your employees and discuss any ideas they put forward. It is best practice to record any meetings you have, so you can show you have followed the information process and considered the views of affected employees.
Get legal assistance from LawBite
Employment law can be challenging to navigate. If you’re looking to determine the terms and conditions of an Employment Contract, we hope this blog post has helped address the types of terms that should be considered. If you need support drafting or reviewing an Employment Contract, then you can find out more about our affordable employment contract service.
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