What must be written in an employment contract

When someone must get their written terms

An employer must provide written terms (a 'written statement of employment particulars') explaining pay, working hours and other terms to anyone legally classed as an employee

This right also applies to anyone who’s classed as a worker and starts their job on or after 6 April 2020.

Written terms for an employee

Currently, an employee has to be employed for at least 1 month to have the right to written terms (a ‘written statement of employment particulars’). 

The employer must give the employee their written terms within 2 months of the date they start work. The employee still has the right to written terms if they’re only employed for 1 to 2 months. 

The employer can provide some of the information in one document (the 'principal statement'), the rest in other documents. For example, the first document on day 1, the rest on day 2. All documents must be provided within 2 months of the employee's start date.

Everything in the written terms must follow the law. For example, it’s not legal to state someone will be paid £3.50 an hour, because this amount is below the minimum wage.

The employee should check the written terms and let their employer know if there's anything they do not understand or agree with.

Employee written terms from 6 April 2020

An employee who starts their job on or after 6 April 2020 has the right to get written terms:

  • regardless of how long they're employed
  • on or before their first day of work

An employee who started their job before this date can ask their employer, from 6 April 2020, for written terms that meet the new requirements. The employee must still be working with the employer or be within 3 months of their leaving date. 

The employer must provide written terms that meet the new requirements within 1 month. 

Written terms for a worker

Currently, someone classed as a worker usually does not have the right to written terms. 

If they work through an agency, they currently have the right to certain information in writing.

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

If you have not received your written terms

You can raise the issue with your employer if you have not received the document by the time it’s due. It’s a good idea to do this informally at first.

If you understand that the document exists but you have not received it, you can also make a formal 'subject access request'.

Find out more about subject access requests on the Information Commissioner's Office website.

If you need to take things further

If you still do not receive it you can raise the issue formally. This is known as raising a grievance.

If that does not resolve things, you might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

You could get compensation, but only if the tribunal upholds your claim in combination with another one (for example, unfair dismissal).