Contracts of Employment

Protecting You, and Your Business

Knowing that your Contracts of Employment are up to date and legally compliant is vitally important to you if you are a company director, business owner, manager of a team, or part of a larger HR team. SVC Human Resources can help you.

Picture of a new employee signing a contract of employment

Employee Signing a Contract of Employment

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Does this describe Your Current Situation?

  • You are not sure if your existing Contracts of Employment are up to date?
  • Maybe your company has Contracts of Employment issued, but you are new to this?
  • Perhaps your HR team has too much to do and you need extra expert assistance?
  • Although you have an existing HR service provider, you feel the advice and support about employment contracts isn't what you need?
  • While you are about to employ staff, you don’t yet have a Contract of Employment?
  • Likewise, you are wondering when and how to update contracts of employment

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above, then read on. 

Spending the next few minutes reading the following may save you a lot of time, expense and frustration.

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About Contracts of Employment

This is important! As an employer the law states you must set out certain terms and conditions to your workers and any employee(s). The law that covers this is section 1 of Employment Rights Act 1996.

Until recent changes to this legislation, employers were only obliged to provide employees with a written statement of particulars, or if preferred a Contract of Employment. Now the legal position has changed and both employees and those classified as workers are entitled to receive a contract.

A contract is an agreement, or set of promises, between two parties which is designed to be legally enforceable and sets out the rules to observe for:

  • you the employer, and
  • your worker or employee(s).


The Employment Rights Act states:

"where an employee begins employment with an employer, the employer shall give to the employee a Written Statement of Particulars of employment".

Are You Confused?

Don't worry, there is often confusion between the Contract of Employment, and a Written Statement of Particulars.

The Written Statement of Particulars

This is the absolute minimum required by law. Furthermore, any worker or employee must receive this on or before their first day of work. As an employer it is important for you to understand this timing. If your employee does not receive their written statement on or before they commence work with you they could:

  • make a claim at an employment tribunal. 
  • be awarded between 2 and 4 weeks’ pay as compensation.

Your brand and reputation could suffer.

The written statement may consist of more than one document. The main document (also known as a ‘principal statement’) can be issued separately to other documents that form the wider written statement.

The principal statement is a day one right, whilst the other elements which can be issued separately can be provided in a later time-frame.

The Principal Statement

The main document or Principal Statement must contain the following information:

Basic Details

  • Your legal (employer) name: This might be your company name. If you are using a ‘trading as’ name ensure to check your legal status.
  • Your company or business address.
  • The employee’s name, their job title or a brief description of the work they will do.
  • The employment or engagement start date.
  • Your legal (employer) name: This might be your company name. If you are using a ‘trading as’ name ensure to check your legal status.
  • Your company or business address.
  • The employee’s name, their job title or a brief description of the work they will do.
  • The employment or engagement start date.

The Principal Statement must also contain the following information:

Other Essential Details

  • If a previous job counts towards a period of continuous employment (employees only), then you must show the date the period started.
  • Details relating to any probationary period. 
  • The rate of pay and how often you will pay your employee.
  • Hours of work, and the working pattern. Where for example you need employees to work overtime, night shifts on a Sunday, or where working hours or days can be varied you will need to set this out including how any variation will be determined.
  • The location of the work; where the employee or worker will be working. If you want the employee to work in different locations, then set out where these will be in the statement. Where there is no place of work, then the address of the employer should be included. And where any employee or worker is required to work abroad for more than 1 month, then the terms of this must also be set out.
  • Entitlement to holiday. This must meet or exceed the statutory minimum entitlement as set out by the Working Time Regulations 1998. It must also state if the entitlement includes public holidays and holiday pay.
  • Details of any other paid leave entitlements.
  • Any other benefits (including benefits clearly specified as non-contractual) which are not covered elsewhere in the written statement.
  • Information relating to any required training, including any that is expected but the employer will not pay for.
  • Where applicable, length of any temporary engagement with the worker, or the date on which the fixed term contract will end.
  • Notice period to be provided by either party.

Additional Information

As well as the principal statement above, a written statement must also provide the employee with the following information:

  • Terms and conditions relating to sickness absence and pay.
  • Pension arrangements.
  • Information about any collective agreements.
  • Who to raise a grievance with and how to complain should the employee be dissatisfied with how a grievance is managed.
  • How your employee can make a complaint following a disciplinary or dismissal decision.
  • Any other training entitlement 


This information can be provided in a supplementary statement separate to the principal statement. Information relating to terms such as pension arrangements, collective agreements, disciplinary and grievance and other training entitlement can be provided at a later date, but must be within 2 months of the start date. Where there are no terms to be entered under any of these headings then this fact should be stated. 

This may appear like a lot of information, but this is the minimum required by law.

The Contract of Employment

contract of employment

A contract of employment is a more comprehensive document. This will contain extra terms to those required by statute. It is much broader than the express terms in a written statement document. For example, it includes some 'implied' terms.

Implied terms are not 'expressly or explicitly' stated, more taken for granted. This is because they are generally obvious to both parties. One important implied term is the duty of mutual trust and confidence which is implied in every employment relationship.

Protecting You the Employer

As an employer, you use your contract of employment to set out the full terms of employment. This means that you provide important details often covering areas such as:

  • Post-termination restrictions.
  • Arrangements for gardening leave.
  • Intellectual property and confidentiality.

A comprehensive employment contract also provides protection for you the employer. It usually sets out (for example):

  • The basis of the relationship between you and the employee.
  • What the employee can expect from you.
  • The kind of liability you will accept in varying circumstances.

Avoid Employment Tribunals

ACAS states one of the main causes of employment tribunals is simple misunderstanding. So it is important to have your employment contract produced by qualified experts. For example, SVC's HR division set out the terms of employment specific to each client. To do this we meet and take the time to understand you and your business.

It is also important to have your employment contract reviewed to make sure that it:

  • Is up to date.
  • Reflects current practice.
  • Complies with current employment legislation.

Remember We Can Help You

SVC Human Resources can provide you with a FREE REVIEW with a qualified HR EXPERT. This can be about:

Also see information on What's in a Staff Handbook


The information contained in this web page is provided for general information purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included on this web page without seeking professional, legal or other specialist advice by qualified practitioners. If you have a specific human resources issue, please contact SVC Human Resources team for individual advice on your particular circumstances.

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