What must be written in an employment contract

The right to written terms


Anyone 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.

This document includes information such as pay and working hours.

The legal term for this document is the 'written statement of employment particulars'.

Many people think this is the ‘employment contract’ but legally the contract is much broader than this document.


Anyone classed as a worker does not have to be given written terms.

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

People who work through an agency

For someone who works through a recruitment agency or recruitment business, the right to written terms depends on their employment status. 

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

If they’re classed as a worker they do not, according to the law, have to be given written terms except in certain circumstances.

But it’s helpful if any worker is given a written document summarising their main rights and responsibilities, like pay and working hours, so everyone’s clear.

People on zero-hours contracts

Zero-hours contracts cover a range of casual working arrangements. Someone on a zero-hours contract will usually be classed as either:

  • an employee – they have the right to written terms
  • a worker – they do not have to be given written terms, but a written summary of both sides’ rights and responsibilities is a good idea
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.