What must be written in an employment contract

The right to written terms

Employees

Currently, anyone legally classed as an employee has the right to a written document summarising the main terms of their employment, if they’re employed for more than 1 month.

The legal term for this document is the 'written statement of employment particulars'. It includes information such as pay and working hours.

Many people think this document is the ‘employment contract’, but legally the contract is much broader than the written terms of their employment.

An employee who starts work on or after 6 April 2020 has the right to written terms even if they’re employed for less than a month.

Workers

Currently, anyone classed as a worker does not have the right to written terms. The exception is anyone who works through an agency and is classed as a worker. They are entitled to certain information in writing.

Find out more about the differences between an employee and a worker.

To avoid misunderstandings, it’s still a good idea for an employer to provide a worker’s main terms of employment in writing.

Any worker who starts their job on or after 6 April 2020 has the same right to written terms as an employee. 

People who work through an agency

For someone who works through a recruitment agency or recruitment business, the written information they must get depends on whether they're classed as an employee or a worker. 

If they're classed as an employee

If they’re classed as an employee, they have same the right to written terms as any employee.

If they're classed as a worker

If they're classed as a worker, they currently have the right to the following information in writing:

  • pay
  • holiday entitlement
  • the type of work the agency will try to find and offer
  • the type of contract ('contract of employment', 'contract for service', or an apprenticeship)
  • the length of any notice period to end an assignment

The agency must give this information to the worker before they start work.  

From 6 April 2020, this type of worker will have the same right to written terms as an employee.

People on zero-hours contracts

Zero-hours contracts cover a range of casual working arrangements. If someone's on a zero-hours contract, their right to written terms depends on whether they're classed as an employee or a worker.

What must be written in an employment contract

This is our beta website. Pages are being tested and improved. You can view the archived version of this advice on The National Archives website.