Terms and conditions of employment
Do I need a written contract of employment?
An employer does not need to provide a contract of employment but they are under a legal duty to provide most employees with a written statement of main employment particulars (as contained in s.1 Employment Rights Act 1996). This covers certain terms and conditions of employment such as name of the employer, name of the employee, holiday pay, working hours and job title. This needs to be given within two months of the start of employment.
Can my employer impose a change in my contract without my consent?
Strictly speaking a contract cannot be varied unilaterally and the consent of the employee should be sought. However, sometimes an employer needs to impose changes for business reasons and may implement the change regardless of employee’s opinion.
What can I do if I don’t agree to a proposed change in my employment contract?
A unilateral change to the contract can amount to a breach of contract and may be a fundamental breach. If the employer wishes to change your contract you have various options available. These include: accept the change, continue to work but say nothing about the change (giving your implied consent), work under protest (you continue to work under the new terms, but you make it clear that you do not accept the change. By doing this you reserve the right to bring court action against the employer), resign and claim constructive dismissal, refuse to work to the new terms. For more information on the action you should take call our legal advice help line on 0844 728 0152– lines are open 8am - 8pm on Monday - Friday, 9am - 1pm Saturdays or simply complete the enquiry form.
If an employee objects to the change the following scenarios may occur:
- the employer may dismiss the employee and offer to re-employ them on the new terms
- the employer may dismiss the employee and not offer new employment
- the employee may continue to object and still be faced with the change, in which case they may consider resigning
- the employee may object and the employer may not impose the change after all
An employee who is dismissed or is forced to resign may consider pursuing the employer for unfair dismissal.