What must be written in an employment contract

When an employee must get their written document

An employer must provide a written document explaining the main terms of employment to any employee employed for more than 1 month. 

This document is also known as:

  • an ‘employment contract’, though according to the law the employment contract is broader than just the written document

  • a ‘written statement’

It’s a good idea for an employer to provide this document as soon as possible.

According to the law, they must provide it to the employee within 2 months of the date they start work. The employee still has the right to this document if they’re only employed for 1 to 2 months.

The employer can provide the written document in parts. For example, the first part on day 1 and the second part on day 2. All parts must be provided within 2 months of the start date.

Information in the written document must follow the law. For example, it’s not legal to state a 33 year-old will be paid £4 per hour, because this amount is below their minimum wage.

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

What the written document must include.

If you have not received your written document 

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

If you understand that the written 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 make a formal complaint

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).