Irrespective of whether or not the contract is made in writing, a contract of employment will automatically be in place as soon as an employee undertakes work for an employer. However, employers and employees are often confused about what is the meant by the contract of employment.
So, what is an employment contract?
Is an agreement between an employer and an employee that sets out their employment rights, responsibilities and duties. These are called the ‘terms’ of the contract.
An employment contract does not have to be in writing. The employment contract is made as soon as the employee accepts the job offer. By starting work, the employee gives a clear indication that they have accepted the job on the terms offered by the employer, even if they are not fully clear about what they are.
However, having a clear written contract in place could cut out disputes with employees at a later date, and is a very efficient way of ensuring that employees understand the main terms and conditions covering their employment with the Company.
Employers have a legal duty to provide employees with a written statement of employment particulars within two months of the employee starting their employment, even if they are going to work for the Company for less than two months. The written statement must include the main statutory employment rights.
Both parties to the employment contract are bound to it until it ends (usually by giving notice) or until the terms are changed (usually by mutual agreement).