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What If I Don't Have a Written Contract With My Employer?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 19 Jan 2018 |
 
Contract Employer Employee Statement

If you are working for someone, there will always be a contract between you as the employee and your employer. That does not necessarily mean that you will have that contractual arrangement reduced to writing. The simple fact that your employer has agreed to pay you, in return for you doing work for them, creates a contractual relationship. Some employers think that they have greater flexibility if they do not issue documentary contracts when in reality the opposite can be true. It is much easier for an employer to assert the terms of an employee’s employment if they are written in black and white and do not provide any room for manoeuvre. If such a document does not exist, this provides significantly wider scope for flexibility.

Under your contractual agreement, whether written or not, both you and your employer have certain rights and obligations. Your main right is that you are entitled to be paid for what you do. Your employer’s right is to give you instructions about your job, such as when and where you work, and what you do while you are at work. There are certain rights that you are entitled to by law, and which don’t have to be included in the terms of agreement between you and your employer. These include your right to the minimum wage and your rights to paid holiday leave.

Your Rights to a Written Document

All employees are entitled by law to request a written statement from their employer which provides certain information as prescribed by law. You can request this within two months of the date when you started work. You are not entitled to this statement if your job was only meant to last less than one month. You can, however, still request this document if your job finishes before the two month period expires. For example, if your job lasts six weeks you can still request the statement in the two weeks after you leave.

This statement must include a number of details. If the statement does not include one or more of the following details, your employer is breaking the law. If your employer tries to dismiss you for requesting this information, seek legal advice without delay:

  • your name and your employer’s name
  • the location of the job, or all locations if it is in more than one place
  • the title of the job, e.g. cashier, sales manager
  • the date when you commenced work
  • how much you will be paid and how often, i.e. weekly wages or a monthly salary
  • how much holiday you are entitled to on an annual basis, and how much your holiday pay is, if you are entitled to it
  • your notice period if you want to leave the job
  • details of the disciplinary, grievance and dismissal procedures
  • how much sick pay you are entitled to
  • whether you are able to join the occupational pension scheme, if your employer has one.
This information does not have to be given to you on a single document, and may be provided in an employee handbook that all employees can access.

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[Add a Comment]
I am a nail tech, and i worked for a salon without any contract. After 3 weeks, they kicked me out without paying me anything. Im in orlando, florida. What should I do?
Yen - 19-Jan-18 @ 3:10 PM
I have worked for the same employer for the last 4 years and have never had a written agreement or contract of work, even after asking for one several times. My employer has kept another employee, on long term sick leave, on full pay. Am I entitled to the same?
Sassy72 - 18-Jan-18 @ 1:19 AM
Villa - Your Question:
I was employed by a company last September and told I would be given 163 hours work per month. And that I would be paid for that regardless.They have now said we are going into zero hours.I have never had a written contract and they have said that because of this they can change my working hours and terms of the agreement whenever they want to. Is this correct?

Our Response:
You don't say whether you are currently on a contract and what that contract is, whether fixed term or not. However, as you are still in your probationary period, your employer can change the contract, please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 16-Jan-18 @ 2:36 PM
Larry - Your Question:
I have been working part time since 20/11/17. I have requested a written contact on numerous occasions as my employer has cancelled work once or twice and has said I won't get paid for them because I get paid per hour. It's frustrating because I was meant to work on those dates but it got cancelled. We had 2 weeks off for Xmas and I had no work or holiday pay. The problem is I haven't been paid yet at all since I started. I was told that it would be resolved by mid Jan and yet here I am still waiting for my wages and contact. I love my job but I don't know what to do now.

Our Response:
There is no excuse to have not been paid since November last year, unless previously agreed with your employer. If you are on a zero hours contract, your employer is not obliged to give you work (you should ask your employer directly what type of contract you are on). An employer must give employees a ‘written statement of employment particulars’ if their employment contract lasts at least a month or more. This isn’t an employment contract but will include the main conditions of employment. It sounds as though your employer is being evasive in more ways than one, here. So, it might be advisable to question whether your employer is the right employer for you. If you leave, you would have to try to claim any outstanding wages via the small claims court.
ContractsAndAgreements - 15-Jan-18 @ 1:47 PM
I was employed by a company last September and told I would be given 163 hours work per month. And that I would be paid for that regardless. They have now said we are going into zero hours. I have never had a written contract and they have said that because of this they can change my working hours and terms of the agreement whenever they want to. Is this correct?
Villa - 15-Jan-18 @ 8:24 AM
I have been working part time since 20/11/17. I have requested a written contact on numerous occasions as my employer has cancelled work once or twice and has said I won't get paid for them because I get paid per hour. It's frustrating because I was meant to work on those dates but it got cancelled. We had 2 weeks off for Xmas and I had no work or holiday pay. The problem is I haven't been paid yet at all since I started. I was told that it would be resolved by mid Jan and yet here I am still waiting for my wages and contact. I love my job but I don't know what to do now.
Larry - 14-Jan-18 @ 6:07 PM
I have done overtime at work my company is paying me those extra hours over months and not in one go at the end of the month or even the next month but over many months is this legal?
D - 12-Jan-18 @ 4:13 PM
bp - Your Question:
I have worked for a company for 10 yrs without a written contrat, but a week ago I was given a letter which stated that I was about to work under contract. my worry is the long perriod I have worked for the company and the quetion is, Is this contract a fair one?

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms of the contract and assess yourself whether you think it is fair. Despite you not having a written contract with your employer, you still have one in place given that you have been working for your employer for the past 10 years. If your employer has been paying tax and NI via HMRC, then you have a legal contract and the same rights as any other employee. Therefore, you can discuss the terms of your new contract with your employer and come to a mutual agreement regarding what you both think is fair. Alternatively, if you think it is fair, then agree to it and sign it.
ContractsAndAgreements - 12-Jan-18 @ 2:38 PM
Royston - Your Question:
I have been working for a company for over 2 years was issued a letter of employment at the start which expired after 3 months. I have just been issued a contract on 9/01/2018 and have been requested to have it back signed by the 11/01/2018. Is this a satisfactory period to allow it to be signed considering I’ve been working for over 2 years without on? They’re also asking for me to consent to “sensitive personal data” to be sent outside the EEA as the owner feels this is necessary for the operation of the company. Would this suggest they’ve been doing this for over 2 years without my consent? Any help is appreciated thank you

Our Response:
You would have to ask your employer directly whether your personal information has been released. There are no laws/rules to a 'satisfactory period' of signing your contract - it's up to your and your employer to agree this matter mutually. Likewise, if you do not wish for your 'personal data' to be released, then you should raise an objection. All these matters should be negotiated directly between you and your employer.
ContractsAndAgreements - 12-Jan-18 @ 1:51 PM
i have worked for a company for 10 yrs without a written contrat, but a week ago i was given a letter whichstated that i was about to work undercontract. my worry is the long perriod i have worked for the companyand the quetion is, Is this contract a fair one?
bp - 12-Jan-18 @ 5:22 AM
I have been working for a company for over 2 years was issued a letter of employment at the start which expired after 3 months. I have just been issued a contract on 9/01/2018 and have been requested to have it back signed by the 11/01/2018. Is this a satisfactory period to allow it to be signed considering I’ve been working for over 2 years without on? They’re also asking for me to consent to “sensitive personal data” to be sent outside the EEA as the owner feels this is necessary for the operation of the company. Would this suggest they’ve been doing this for over 2 years without my consent? Any help is appreciated thank you
Royston - 11-Jan-18 @ 9:19 PM
Ania - Your Question:
If you working without signing the contract how can you proof that you work for that employer in the court case

Our Response:
The fact you are paid by your employer implies you have a contract in place. By law, an employer must give employees a ‘written statement of employment particulars’ if their employment contract lasts at least a month or more. This isn’t an employment contract but will include the main conditions of employment, please see link here . Therefore, if your employer hasn't issued you with a contract, you may wish to speak to your employer directly regarding this matter.
ContractsAndAgreements - 11-Jan-18 @ 2:24 PM
If you working without signing the contract how can you proof that you work for that employer in the court case
Ania - 10-Jan-18 @ 12:54 AM
Aida - Your Question:
If I worked for employer for 8months and he never gave me any contract to sign, he owes me money for the months before and ignores my messages after I left the place. What can I do to get my money back?

Our Response:
You would have to apply to take the matter to court. Much depends upon the amount owing, if it is under £10,000 you can apply via the small claims court, please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 5-Jan-18 @ 1:46 PM
Sammy - Your Question:
My employment was terminated after just 4 months despite surpassing all KPIs and performing far above expectation!I never had a written contract despite frequently asking!!! I was also told I was on a Probationary period when I was sacked which was never told to me and Indeed something I insisted against as I had previously worked for the company and it was them who approached me to work for them again!!!The reason given to me for my termination was that the Directors didn’t agree with my marketing strategy despite me having full authority for the strategy via my line manager,,, in fact he encountered my strategy to be used by other sites within the company I have written email evidence of the above Do I have grounds for unfair dismissal???

Our Response:
Unfortunately, employees have to complete two years' service with their employer before they can make a claim for unfair dismissal, please see link here .
ContractsAndAgreements - 4-Jan-18 @ 3:55 PM
ama - Your Question:
Hi I worked as a courier for about 6 days in November 2017 but unfortunately the job was not for me there was no contractual agreement in paper however, I was told specifically I would get a certain amount an hour and I would roughly work for 6-8 hours daily depending on how busy it gets. The employer owes me around money and I have been trying to contact him for weeks now and he seems to be just diverting me and ignoring me. I know there must be something I can do ? any help would be much appreciated.

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here which should tell you all you need to know. If you have worked the hours you were employed to do, you should get paid.
ContractsAndAgreements - 4-Jan-18 @ 2:06 PM
My employment was terminated after just 4 months despite surpassing all KPIs and performing far above expectation! I never had a written contract despite frequently asking!!! I was also told I was on a Probationary period when I was sacked which was never told to me and Indeed something I insisted against as I had previously worked for the company and it was them who approached me to work for them again!!! The reason given to me for my termination was that the Directors didn’t agree with my marketing strategy despite me having full authority for the strategy via my line manager,,, in fact he encountered my strategy to be used by other sites within the company I have written email evidence of the above Do I have grounds for unfair dismissal???
Sammy - 4-Jan-18 @ 12:09 PM
Hi i worked as a courier for about 6 days in November 2017 but unfortunately the job was not for me there was no contractual agreement in paper however, i was told specifically i would get a certain amount an hour and i would roughly work for 6-8 hours daily depending on how busy it gets. The employer owes me around money and i have been trying to contact him for weeks now and he seems to be just diverting me and ignoring me. I know there must be something i can do ? any help would be much appreciated.
ama - 4-Jan-18 @ 1:27 AM
If I worked for employer for 8months and he never gave me any contract to sign, he owes me money for the months before and ignores my messages after I left the place. What can I do to get my money back?
Aida - 29-Dec-17 @ 1:57 AM
@Steviecroc -it comes under an 'implied contractual term' which means there is a sense of legal obligation to do so (eg a payment which has been paid every year for many years and which is well known to employees). But you would have to speak to ACAS to see if it stands.
Oscars - 21-Dec-17 @ 12:36 PM
A friend is working in the building services sector and is hourly paid in line with a national agreement. His company usually pay him and the other supervisors one hour extra per day and have done so for the last 2 years or so but a new manager has come In and decided to deduct this hour from all supervisors who say it's actually a contractual payment and this constitutes a breach of contract. Most of the supervisors do not have an actual contract of employment as it's never been given but the guys who do have it have the payment in writing. Can this manager take this hour from the guys at his descretion or is he breaching their contracts?
Steviecroc - 20-Dec-17 @ 6:38 PM
Tina- Your Question:
I was working for an employer for 2 months and told at end of shift I was being paid off no notice because it "wasn't working".this is invalid and wrong as I was still learning but never given the opportunity. I feel it's about religion and status. can I sue if ive no evidence as it was all verbal

Our Response:
As you would still be in your probationary period, you would have no recourse to complain. You can see more about what a probationary period entails via the link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 12-Dec-17 @ 3:01 PM
I was working for an employer for 2 months and told at end of shift I was being paid off no notice because it "wasn't working" ..this is invalid and wrong as I was still learning but never given the opportunity .. I feel it's about religion and status ... can i sue if ive no evidence as it was all verbal
Tina - 12-Dec-17 @ 8:33 AM
Sarah - Your Question:
A question on behalf of a friend. She's been working for an employer for a year now and has been refusing to provide her with a work contract since. She does not get paid on time, and now for the past 2months he has not paid her at all. Any ideas how she can get him to pay her.

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether your friend is working PAYE and her tax is paid by her employer via HMRC, which would make her employment 'legal'. If so, and if your friend is based in the UK, then she is advised to give ACAS a call for further direct advice on how to follow this up.
ContractsAndAgreements - 11-Dec-17 @ 10:58 AM
A question on behalf of a friend. She's been working for an employer for a year now and has been refusing to provide her with a work contract since. She does not get paid on time, and now for the past 2months he has not paid her at all. Any ideas how she can get him to pay her.
Sarah - 9-Dec-17 @ 2:10 PM
Pedro- Your Question:
Hello, a question on behalf of a friend. He's just started work in a restaurant and the employer refuses to give him a written contract, he says that one is not needed for the first three months of probation. Is this correct? How can my friend have proof if things go wrong? Thank you.

Our Response:
As a rule, an employer must give employees a ‘written statement of employment particulars’ if their employment contract lasts at least a month or more. This isn’t an employment contract but will include the main conditions of employment. The employer must provide the written statement within two months of the start of employment, please see link here. Your friend may wish to speak to his employer directly aagin regarding this matter.
ContractsAndAgreements - 8-Dec-17 @ 11:44 AM
Hello, a question on behalf of a friend. He's just started work in a restaurant and the employer refuses to give him a written contract, he says that one is not needed for the first three months of probation. Is this correct? How can my friend have proof if things go wrong? Thank you.
Pedro - 7-Dec-17 @ 3:28 PM
fluffy - Your Question:
Hi,Started new job 2 months ago still no contract has been issued. Ive been informed we only get 15 annual leave days paid instead of 20 required by law. Unsure what to do as I love the job and dont want to leave. get on really well with the boss too and dont want to bring it up incase it sours the relationship. Any advice on what to do>

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you are working full or part-time. Part-time workers receive less holidays pro-rata than full-time workers, please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 5-Dec-17 @ 3:20 PM
Hi, Started new job 2 months ago still no contract has been issued. Ive been informed we only get 15 annual leave days paid instead of 20 required by law. Unsure what to do as I love the job and dont want to leave. get on really well with the boss too and dont want to bring it up incase it sours the relationship. Any advice on what to do>
fluffy - 5-Dec-17 @ 2:46 PM
Hi there, I am writing on behalf of a family member who has recently left their job with no notice. They informed their employer that due to never receiving a contract that legally they wasn’t required which also applies to the employer. With that said the employer is now refusing to pay them their week in hand when they began, indictating due to not giving one week notice, they won’t get paid as stated in the terms of employment. However no such thing (terms of employment) has ever been provided. Therefore can someone tell me where we stand please? Thank you in advance for your help.
Charlotte - 30-Nov-17 @ 10:57 PM
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