What must be written in an employment contract

When someone must get their written terms

An employer must give written terms (a 'written statement of employment particulars') explaining pay, working hours and other rights and responsibilities, to both employees and workers.

Employers must provide written terms:

  • no matter how long the person's employed for
  • on or before the person's first day of work

Everything in the written terms must follow the law (Employment Rights Act 1996). For example, it's not legal to state someone who is 22 years old will be paid £3.50 an hour, because this amount is below the minimum wage.

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

Written terms for someone who started their job before 6 April 2020

Anyone legally classed as an employee who started their job before 6 April 2020 can ask their employer for written terms that meet the new requirements.

They must still be working with the employer or be within 3 months of their leaving date. The employer must provide the written terms that meet the new requirements within 1 month.

Those legally classed as workers do not have the right to written terms if they started the job before 6 April 2020. They can still ask their employer if they can provide them. A worker would have the right to written terms if the employer starts them on a new contract after 6 April 2020. 

If you've not received your written terms

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

If you understand the document exists but you've 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.