A charity has reported that almost half of all the employees who come to it for help have never received written details of their employment.
The Hartlepool Mail reported on 5 March that in an internal survey, the town’s Citizens Advice Bureau had found that four out of every ten employees had never received a written statement of employment.
Employers are not legally obliged to provide a written contract of employment but they must provide all employees, regardless of how many hours they work, with a written statement of the main terms of conditions of employment within two months of their starting work (in accordance with section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (‘ERA’); this ‘statement’ is often found within a contract of employment.
An employment contract should contain the information specified in section 1 ERA as a minimum. The content of an employment contract will usually include a description of what work the employee will be doing, how much and how often they will be paid, hours of work and whether they will have to work overtime, at night or on Sundays, together with holiday entitlement, pension arrangements and who to go to if the employee has a grievance.
Most of the people involved in the Hartlepool survey were employees working for, or who had worked for, businesses employing between two and thirty people.
Lara Murray, associate solicitor in Palmers’ Employment Law team, said: “Having in place a contract of employment is good business practice and means both employee and employer are clear on their own responsibilities and on what to expect from each other.
“Uncertainty about work issues can usually be resolved informally but sometimes employees can face more serious problems that require legal advice. We offer fixed fee interviews but some household insurance policies may also include cover for expenses in an employment dispute. For more information, please contact our Employment Law team.”