When you have a job, it is important to understand how your employment contract gives both you and your employer rights and responsibilities. Employment contract law is an area of law that protects both you and your employer, and ensures that you are both treated fairly. Here’s everything you need to know.

Your Contract Might Not Be In Writing

Although you might imagine an employment contract to be a document that is signed, sometimes they can be verbal agreements. These are known as oral contracts, and have the same legal authority as written contracts, although they are harder to prove. 

Express Terms

Your contract (whether written or verbal) will have express terms. These are elements of your contract which have been specifically mentioned by both you and your employer. These might include:

  • Hours of work
  • How much you will be paid
  • How much notice is needed to end the contract

These terms might be found in your contract, but they can also be in the job advert, any letters you have received from your employer and any documents you have been asked to sign.

Implied Terms

Implied terms aren’t written down in a contract, but are expected behaviour and therefore implied into the contract. For example, your contract won’t say that you can’t steal from your employer, but it is expected that you won’t – this is an implied term.

Sometimes, there will be arrangements that have never been clearly agreed but instead established by custom and practice. For example, if the office always closes early on a Friday, this may be an implied contract term.

Probationary Periods

When you start a new job, you might be given a probationary period. During this time, your contractual terms might be slightly different. You might not have all of the benefits that you will get when you pass your probationary period. However, your statutory rights remain in place – your employer can’t take these away, even if you are on probation. Statutory rights include things such as maternity pay and sick leave.

How Employment Contract Law Helps You

Employment contract law can protect you from unfair treatment. If your contract is broken, or if your employer doesn’t follow a term in your contract, this is known as ‘breach of contract’. If this happens, you should follow these steps:

  • Try to sort the matter out informally first.
  • If this doesn’t work, raise a grievance with your employer.
  • If the internal grievance procedure doesn’t resolve your issue, you can consider mediation.
  • If you have tried everything, you can go to an employment tribunal.

If You Have A Problem With Your Contract…

Whether you need a contract term clarified, you’re worried your employer may have broken your contract or if you have any other issues, Beeston Shenton’s employment law team can help. Our employment law specialists can help you to understand your rights, and will guide you through any processes to resolve your grievance. You can contact us today.