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What terms and conditions must be included in my employment contract?

When you start a new job, there are certain terms that your employer should give you.

As of 6 April 2020, anyone legally classed as an employee or worker, including agency workers, has the right to a written Section 1 Statement, detailing the terms and conditions of their employment.


What should a written Section 1 Statement contain?

  • the employer’s name and address
  • the employee or worker’s name
  • their start date
  • the date that ‘continuous employment’
  • job title, or a brief description of the job
  • the place of work 
  • pay, including how often and when
  • working hours, including which days they must work
  • if working hours or days can change, and if so how
  • holiday and holiday pay, and an explanation of how its calculated on leaving
  • the amount of sick leave and pay (if not included, the employer must state where to find it)
  • any other paid leave (again, if not included, the employer must state where to find it)
  • any other benefits, including non-contractual benefits such as childcare vouchers or company car schemes 
  • the notice period either party must give when employment ends
  • how long the job is expected to last (if it’s temporary or fixed term)
  • any probation period, including its conditions and how long it is
  • if the employee will work abroad, and any terms that apply
  • training that must be completed by the employee or worker, including training the employer does not pay for

Employers can provide some terms later, but no later than two months after an employee or worker starts. As of 6 April 2020, the terms that can be given later are pension arrangements, any collective agreements, details of any training provided that is not compulsory, and disciplinary rules and disciplinary and grievance procedures.


Can you complain to an employment tribunal?


You can - where your employer either fails to provide you with a Section 1 Statement, or provides an inaccurate or incomplete statement. The tribunal will then determine what particulars ought to have been included. Where you also have a successful substantive claim (for example, unfair dismissal), you may also claim compensation of between two to four weeks pay.



Which parts of my contract are legally binding?


You will be contractually bound by any terms that you accept whether expressly or by implied. The basic principle is that you’re free to agree whatever terms you and your employer want, but the reality is that your employer may be unwilling to change the terms it’s prepared to offer to you.

It’s in your interest to obtain a written contract from your employer if possible. If the contract isn’t written down, you will be equally bound by any terms agreed verbally, but you’ll have nothing to support you later if there’s a disagreement about what you agreed. If your employer sent you an offer letter, this is likely to set out many of your agreed terms and conditions.

Whatever written documentation you have should be kept in a safe and memorable place. If you verbally agree to anything that’s not written down, you should record it, for example by putting it in an email to your employer.


Required terms


Some employment terms are required by law (as above). These include rules setting national minimum wage rates, minimum rest periods, paid holiday and notice periods to terminate the employment contract.

There are also terms that are implied by law into all employment contracts. These include the mutual duty of trust and confidence, the duty for you to obey reasonable and lawful instructions, and the duty of your employer to provide you with a safe work environment.


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