Is it Obligatory to Give My Employees a Written Contract of Employment?

One of the questions we are often asked by our clients is if it is absolutely necessary to have a contract of employment with their employees. Actually, and surprisingly, the answer is no! You might decide to give a “written particulars of employment”.Although as we will detail below you should think seriously whether this route suits your business.

Written particulars of employment

By law employers need to issue each employee with a written statement of employment particulars by their first day of employment; which is known as a ‘principal statement’. This will cover pay and conditions, place of work, basic discipline and grievance and job title etc but it is a minimum statement covering their employment and is not the same as a contract of employment.

However, by law, the employer will need to provide a wider written statement within 2 months of the start of employment. This will cover information about pensions and pension schemes, collective agreements as well as disciplinary and grievance process. Separately to this employers must tell employees or workers about any changes to the written statement within one month of making the change.

Contract of employment

A contract of employment is a far more detailed document that will define more clearly expectations of the employee and obligations of the employer. This will generally be issued ahead of the employee start date and will be a constitute part of the offer and acceptance of terms for both employer AND employee.

What is the value of investing in a contract of employment?

Written particulars can leave important aspects of the employment relationship open to interpretation and ultimately, if the relationship were to turn sour, it will be for a tribunal to interpret those missing or controversial aspects.

Whilst a written statement is quicker to produce, you should use a contract for permanent employees, key roles. Contracts of employment do not have to be complicated and help avoid a number of issues in the long run. Optima HR can help you to develop a tailored contract of employment.

If you are a business based in the Thames Valley, Berkshire or London and looking for one-off or ongoing HR support then you can contact us through our website or alternatively you can call us on 0203 086 8387. We offer free 30-minute HR consultation on any HR topic.