There is always a ‘contract’ of employment between an employer and employee. The contract need not be in writing. It may be partly oral, and it may incorporate the letter offering the job. It is likely to include ‘implied’ terms. There are terms of a contract of employment that have, through case law, been ‘implied’ into the employee’s contracts of employment. There may be terms ‘implied’ by custom and practice in the particular trade of the employees.
Every employee is entitled to receive a written statement of the terms of employment with his/her employer within 2 months of starting employment. The law specifies the minimum that has to be included for example job title, pay, hours etc. It is essential that all employees are given full written contracts of employment, in order to clarify the precise details of the terms of the contract, and give certainty to the relationship between the parties.
The more responsibility the employee has, the more important it is that he/she is given a written contract of employment.
For senior employees, employers can protect themselves with restrictions limiting solicitation of customers, competing and disclosure of confidential information. Such restrictions must, however, be reasonable in scope.
The Employment Tribunal is able to order compensation to any employee that has not received the terms of employment in writing.