Everyone who is working as an employee should have an employment contract and as with all contracts this sets out the terms of the employment, and will include your responsibilities, your rights and the conditions of employment, amongst others that your employer may wish to include.
When you accept these terms both you and your employer must abide by your contract unless it has been changed, normally by mutual consent or termination.
An employment contract is different than the type of contract you may enter into if you have someone to come and fix your boiler; this is covered by a contract to provide a service.
You enter into a contract as soon as you accept employment.
Employment contract terms may take many forms;
The most common, is in writing as a named contract or statement, but they can be just by verbal agreement, in a letter, or in an employment manual.
Other examples of how your contract may be delivered are by a collective agreement set out typically between your union and employers, or under implied terms.
Implied terms are an interesting area, it’s normally not agreed with your employer but accepted, for example, if you are asked to drive as part of your job, you must have a driving license, you may not steal items from work, and you will be given the correct holiday entitlement (minimum of 5.6 weeks)
If your employment contract is covered under a collective agreement, you will be able to find a copy of that agreement with your employer; details should also be available of who negotiates and how. If you are unsure, please contact your Union or Staff association.
If you are to be employed for more than a month you must be given, in writing, a statement of employment (this is not a contract of employment), this will outline the main conditions you must comply with during employment.
The written statement must include details about you, your employer, name or details about your job and a commencement date.
Lots of general information must be included such as how, when and how much, you will be paid; very important! When and where you will be expected to work, and for how long (and if this may change through relocation) also, your holiday allowance.
These are covered off in the principle statement, but you will also be provided with details such as
• Pensions and benefits
• Grievance procedures
• Details if a temporary position such as term and end dates
• Procedures when leaving employment such as notice periods
• Disciplinary - if you wish to complain
There are a number of areas that do not need to be covered in the statement but direction must be given as to where you can find the information. These will be general items of employment, such as what happens when you are sick, details on any grievance, disciplinary and dismissal process.
If you are working abroad, additional details must be provided.
If you are looking to produce a contract of employment for employees, you can get a lot of help and downloads through the Government web site or regional and local bodies, such as business link, your local commercial solicitors will also be able to assist with all aspects of creating contracts and of representations either in carrying out employment litigation or defence.
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