The employment contract is a standard agreement between an employer and yourself. The more comprehensive the contract, the more specific an employer can be about your duties and responsibilities. Ultimately, the employment contract allows you to understand exactly what your employer expects of you.

Although there are many cases which don’t require the contract to be in writing for legal validity, doing so confirms the responsibilities of both yourself and your employer, and can offer tangible proof of terms and requirements should the contract need to enter a court of law.

Standard Items That Should be Included in your Employment Contract

Generally speaking, a contract between you and your employer needs to include several items:

  • Your hours and place of work;
  • Start date of your employment;
  • Your job title;
  • Sick pay you are entitled to receive;
  • Your payment details;
  • Procedures for your dismissal, discipline and grievances;
  • Your names;
  • Your holiday pay and entitlement;
  • Available pension schemes and notice periods.

In addition to the above items, the terms of your employment must be detailed. Both express and implied terms should appear in your contract.

Express Terms

Express terms refer to any elements of a job which your employer mentions specifically in a verbal or written manner, or that which the employer and you agree upon verbally.

These elements include how much standard, overtime and bonus wages you will be paid. They also include your regular and overtime working hours, holiday pay and time-off entitlement, as well as sick and redundancy pay. Express terms also include how much notice the employer requires in order to end the employment contract with you.

Express terms can also appear in anything you as an employee may have been expected to sign, letters your employer may have sent you, or even in the job advert itself.

Unwritten or Implied Terms

There are also terms in an employment contract which don’t appear in writing. Called implied terms, they are items that are automatically assumed, such as the fact that you won’t share confidential company information or steal from your place of work.

But implied terms also extend to you from the employer. Some of the more common are the provision of a safe workplace and the fact that your employer should never ask you to do anything illegal while on the job, such as driving a company vehicle without insurance.

Other types of implied terms can take the form of those which have become included in the employment contract, but have not necessarily made clear or have been agreed upon. Items like holiday bonuses or leaving early are two examples. These types of implied terms usually occur over a long period of time, are uninterrupted and well-known by both you and your employer.

Before You Sign

Any time you begin a new job and are given a contract to sign, it’s important to read it over carefully. Ask if it’s possible to take the contract home and review it before you sign. If you come upon any items which you feel are unfair for whatever reason, do not sign the contract. Instead, discuss the items in question with your employer, and ask if they would consider either changing the terms or omitting them from the contract altogether.

Once you do sign anything, whether it’s a contract or another document given to you by your employer, copies should be made in the event that you need them for future disputes.

First Base understands the importance of employment contracts, and is well-versed in the responsibilities of employers. We work hard with all of our employers and candidates to ensure that everyone is on the same page with their contracts. We can also help you land that perfect job with CV advice. We’d love to meet you and chat with you about your career goals and availability. Call us today on 01453 755330.

Tricia Hay

Tricia Hay is Owner, Director of First Base Employment Limited