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

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 15 Jun 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]
Anna - Your Question:
Hy, I ve been working in a coffee shop in a library for 3 month. No contract. No tax paid or anything like that. She said at the interview to give one week notice before leaving and she s gonna pay for what I ve worked. The point is that I had to leave the country for couple of weeks and I let her know one week advance and I asked her to pay me for the last two weeks as I needed the money. She said she s not gonna pay me for last week till next week when is the due for the payment. But she did it like this with other girls who worked there and they never got the money for the last week they worked in there. Is there anything I can do to have my money from her ? Please let me know ASAP. Thank you!

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract to see when payments are made. If your employer refuses to pay you, you would have to take the matter to the small claims court, please see link here .
ContractsAndAgreements - 18-Jun-18 @ 3:41 PM
Hy, I ve been working in a coffee shop in a library for 3 month. No contract. No tax paid or anything like that. She said at the interview to give one week notice before leaving and she s gonna pay for what I ve worked. The point is that I had to leave the country for couple of weeksand I let her know one week advance and I asked her to pay me for the last two weeks as I needed the money. She said she s not gonna pay me for last week till next week when is the due for the payment . But she did it like this with other girls who worked there and they never got the money for the last week they worked in there . Is there anything I can do to have my money from her ? Please let me know ASAP . Thank you!
Anna - 15-Jun-18 @ 5:17 PM
Jess - Your Question:
Hi. I started a temporary job over the summer whilst I am at university and I don't have a written contract with them. Unfortunately I was very unwell and could not attend one shift. I informed my manager with around 4 hours notice prior to my shift and I received a message to say and he will no longer offer me a job, he was quite abrupt. I haven't been paid for the shift that I did do and I have asked him to reconsider his decision. Is he able to just dismiss me just like that?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, your employer is entitled to dismiss you while on your probationary period. However, you should get paid for the work you have done and you can claim through MCol if you haven't and you can't resolve this matter directly with your employer.
ContractsAndAgreements - 14-Jun-18 @ 3:10 PM
Hi. I started a temporary job over the summer whilst I am at university and I don't have a written contract with them. Unfortunately I was very unwell and could not attend one shift. I informed my manager with around 4 hours notice prior to my shift and I received a message to say and he will no longer offer me a job, he was quite abrupt. I haven't been paid for the shift that I did do and I have asked him to reconsider his decision. Is he able to just dismiss me just like that?
Jess - 12-Jun-18 @ 2:28 PM
Hi! I've worked for an independent restaurant for a week in a total of 27h. I never had a contract written down but the verbal agreement was to work casual hours and my position would be assisting the daily operations (let's say a team leader role). I ended up mopping floors and working for a boss that was constantly aggressive towards employees and customers, so one day I went to him and told him I was leaving straight away. He told me to go back there to get my pay in cash, which I did (3x times). On the third time he said his accountant advise him to do a bank transfer, so I provided him with my bank details and hours worked but still haven't got paid. He also said he would pay me 7.50£ and the minimum wage is 7.83£ p/h as I am over 25. What are my options ? Thank you.
Phil - 8-Jun-18 @ 6:23 PM
Son - Your Question:
I've been working for a company for 1 year and 4 months and I am employed by them but I've never had a contract with them to sign and but I would like to know if this is illegal in the UK laws also I'm doing 19 hours a week with them but don't pay national insurance is that illegal aswell Kind regards Son

Our Response:
An employee’s Class 1 National Insurance is made up of contributions deducted from their pay (employee’s National Insurance). However, much depends upon how much you earn also, please see link here . With regards to your contract, your employer must provide the written statement within two months of the start of employment, please see link here . If your employer hasn't, then you should bring this up directly in order to try to resolve the issue informally.
ContractsAndAgreements - 1-Jun-18 @ 10:53 AM
I've been working for a company for 1 year and 4 months and i am employed by them but I've never had a contract with them to sign and but I would like to know if this is illegal in the UK laws also I'm doing 19 hours a week with them but don't pay national insurance is that illegal aswell Kind regards Son
Son - 31-May-18 @ 4:41 PM
Curious - Your Question:
Hi, I have worked for a company for 11 years.They want to cut 1 day of my wages, can do my employer do that as I have always been worked 6 days a week for 11 years?Thanks, Curious

Our Response:
An employer must get an employee’s agreement if they want to make changes to a contract. If you do not have a written contract, if you have worked for the company for 11 years as an PAYE employee, then you have what is called an 'implied' contract, which can hold as much weight as a written contract. Please see link here for more information.
ContractsAndAgreements - 31-May-18 @ 10:17 AM
Hi, I have worked for a company for 11 years. They want to cut 1 day of my wages, can do my employer do that as i have always been worked 6 days a week for 11 years? Thanks, Curious
Curious - 30-May-18 @ 11:12 AM
I have been working in a company for 5 months. I have asked for a contract but my boos keep delaying it. Does it mean he can fire me whenever he wants? Can I leave the job without a notice?
Chiara - 25-May-18 @ 9:15 AM
Chau - Your Question:
Hi I've been employed with the company for 13 years without any written contract.My employer was not paying any of my benefits for this span of time like SSS and Pag Ibig benefit. Currently my Boss was asking me not to go to the office every Saturday while before I've been working from Mon-Sat and now my boss wants me to stop working. What are the things that I can claim? How will I worked out my separation pay? What are the things that I can File againts my employer?

Our Response:
Even though there may be nothing clearly agreed between you and your employer regarding your contract, you will still have a contract (by the very nature of working for your employer for a period of time and carrying out specific and regular duties). Therefore, if your employer is changing your hours or duties you may have a case to complain through a tribunal if you live in the UK. You may wish to give Acas a call to see whether this applies to you.
ContractsAndAgreements - 24-May-18 @ 3:02 PM
Hi, I work in the public sector. i won a promotion to management on a 2 year (acting up)contract. when this expired 1 year ago i was emailed to say that i have to continue in the promoted position and the current higher salary will continue. The email states that they are requesting to fix the position. I am now 3 years in the position and the department has advertised the position. I am free to apply if i wish. I am favorite to get the job but not 100%. should i be made permanent without having to re apply. (my original position is permanent) I did not get a written contract for the 2 year fixed or extension. i have the email to state that i should continue as is. Thanks
andolini - 24-May-18 @ 1:49 PM
Hi I've been employed with the company for 13 years without any written contract.My employer was not paying any of my benefits for this span of time like SSS and Pag Ibig benefit. Currently my Boss was asking me not to go to the office every Saturday while before I've been working from Mon-Sat and now my boss wants me to stop working. What are the things that I can claim? How will I worked out my separation pay? What are the things that I can File againts my employer?
Chau - 24-May-18 @ 5:29 AM
Roma- Your Question:
Hi my daughter worked with a company full time for eight months and left to start work elsewhere.They are saying she is due them a weeks wage back.She didnt have a contract and also didnt get any lunch breaks the whole time she worked there. Can anyone give any advice on where she stands please thanks.

Our Response:
Your daughter's only option is to apply through the small claim court, please see link here . Before she does this, she would have to ensure that she is definitely owed the money (i.e, she may have taken holiday and not accrued it).
ContractsAndAgreements - 22-May-18 @ 1:46 PM
Hi my daughter worked with a company full time for eight months and left to start work elsewhere. They are saying she is due them a weeks wage back. She didnt have a contract and also didnt get any lunch breaks the whole time she worked there. Can anyone give any advice on where she stands please thanks.
Roma - 21-May-18 @ 6:41 PM
ndumiso - Your Question:
I have worked for a company for 1year 6months and I didn't have a contract at all so now I've been unfairly dismissed.I need help

Our Response:
Unfortunately, you would not be able to claim unfair dismissal until you have been in the position for two years - unless you are claiming for an automatically unfair reason. Please see link here .
ContractsAndAgreements - 14-May-18 @ 9:56 AM
We have just taken over a new business..its been nearly two months..its a fish and chips shops. None of the exsisting employees (who were working with last owner) has any written contract. Now we are thinking about business proposal for introducing written contract and review people’s shift and hours. Now here is few question i have — 1. Can i reduce hours for people if they dnt have any contractual hours. 2. Whats the legal minimum hour we can offer per person for full time position
Numan - 13-May-18 @ 10:13 PM
I have worked for a company for 1year 6months and I didn't have a contract at all so now I've been unfairly dismissed..I need help
ndumiso - 12-May-18 @ 7:48 PM
Benito - Your Question:
I have worked for a cooperative for a year and some months now, three months back I was appointed the manager. I have never had a contract. I devote all my time and services in the office, at times I work right till 5am but I only earn $80 a month. The coop has had some grants that I could be paid better now but my boss is trying to kick me out by bringing up some claims on me me. Please I need an advice and what I can do. The measures I can take. Thanks

Our Response:
Unfortunately, as we are a UK-based site we can only answer UK-based questions as different contract laws will apply in different countries.
ContractsAndAgreements - 11-May-18 @ 12:51 PM
I have worked for a cooperative for a year and some months now, three months back I was appointed the manager. I have never had a contract. I devote all my time and services in the office, at times I work right till 5am but I only earn $80 a month. The coop has had some grants that I could be paid better now but my boss is trying to kick me out by bringing up some claims on me me. Please I need an advice and what I can do. The measures I can take. Thanks
Benito - 10-May-18 @ 6:32 PM
I have worked for 7 years now I signed a 28hour contract. My contract went missing with in the first 18months not replaced. I emailed asking for contract veritable times. Then a contract appeared which was flexible I said it didn't look like my signature. My employer took a greavance out against me for saying that. I am disabled and explained I do not even realise my signature as changed. How ever signature on contract is how I right now. I have received a written warning. Plus my employer does not believe my disabled parking badge to be mine and has put this in the out come letter it is mine with my photo on
Poppy - 8-May-18 @ 12:35 AM
I am working for 7 months in a small company as software developer but didnt received the contract copy. I signed just the offer.The manager told me that in 4 weeks i will receive a contract copy. I asked from the start to provide the contract he said, for the first 4 weeks no problem. Is that legal?
Mike - 5-May-18 @ 11:09 PM
I’ve been employed for the past 13 years without a contract I get a monthly salary plus a 10% profit share at the end of every financial year. This has been the case for the years we’ve made profit. If they decided to make me redundant can they hold back my share of the profit for that year?
Shad - 5-May-18 @ 12:19 PM
Hello i work as a with a contaractor who is contracted to a large company,ive been there for over 20 years..there are changes coming in the next couple of months due to low production etc..and has been mentioned getting rid of some contractors.. Today my employer called us in with a contract..he says hes normal 12 month contract to the big company has been cut to 3 month renewables.. He got is to sighn a contract offering a pay rise and also an extra 5 days holiday ontop of the 28 days holiday i allready get.. Why the generosity with the extra 5 days.. Ive read here it might be a manuvre to get out of paying my p45 severance pay i might be entitled to if we lose the contract in a couple of months.. Am i right to be suspicious thanks
Mrcurious - 30-Apr-18 @ 11:49 AM
hello i work 40 hours a week and recieve in total 28 days holiday.. Today our employer called us in and a)gave us a pay rise which is fair enough but b)also gave us an extra 5 days holiday.. We cant understand why hes being so generious with the extra 5 days holiday its not in his nature.. Were thinkimg a)theres been a holiday law change or b)hes been short changing us on our 28 day holiday entitlement over the years.. Any ideas for my employers generosits..
Mrfixit - 30-Apr-18 @ 11:30 AM
An employee works 6 hours a week, no written contract, and is becoming increasingly unpleasant to other workers. Does this employee have to be served notice or can they be asked to leave immediately?
Mark - 27-Apr-18 @ 2:48 PM
Raaa - Your Question:
I have been working for 15 years in my position. It is a very small company, the boss, myself and one other. We have no contracts and up until now this has never been an issue as there was complete trust between us all. The one other has now been with us for nearly 18 months, she does nothing, she is hungover just about everyday and constantly making errors, we are a medical opticians and cannot afford to make errors. One of our old members of staff who is 75 and retired, comes in to help one afternoon a week to help me find and correct errors and catch up on work that this sponger isn't doing 3 days a week. My boss knows how badly things are going but is the softest, kindest man who has never fired anyone, he's never needed to. We have no contracts and he seems to think that makes it even more difficult to give her a months notice and send her on her way. I am close to walking out but after 15 years with him I have great loyalty and know that his practice would crumble. Where do we stand with this? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Many thanks.

Our Response:
Once your work colleague has worked at the employment for two years, it will become increasingly difficult to dismiss her, as unfair dismissal rights come into force. You can see more via the link here. Regardless of there not being a contract in place, there is still a implied contract in place which means your employer would still have to go through the correct process of undertaking a fair dismissal process.
ContractsAndAgreements - 27-Apr-18 @ 10:23 AM
I have been working for 15 years in my position. It is a very small company, the boss, myself and one other. We have no contracts and up until now this has never been an issue as there was complete trust between us all. The one other has now been with us for nearly 18 months, she does nothing, she is hungover just about everyday and constantly making errors, we are a medical opticians and cannot afford to make errors. One of our old members of staff who is 75 and retired, comes in to help one afternoon a week to help me find and correct errors and catch up on work that this sponger isn't doing 3 days a week. My boss knows how badly things are going but is the softest, kindest man who has never fired anyone, he's never needed to. We have no contracts and he seems to think that makes it even more difficult to give her a months notice and send her on her way. I am close to walking out but after 15 years with him I have great loyalty and know that his practice would crumble. Where do we stand with this? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Many thanks.
Raaa - 26-Apr-18 @ 7:55 PM
Shawsy - Your Question:
My son has been working as a joiner dor around 2 months. He has walked into work today and the boss told him that this will be his last week. This was due to an argument with another colleague who was much older who basically squared up to my son. Verbals were exchanged on both sides bit nothing physical. By all accounts the other party started it. He's had no official written or verbal warning about the incident (which is what the employer informed my son he would have to do at the start of the employment, texts have been kept). He's had no written contract from the employer. He's advertised his job before informing my son it would be his last week, in fact it was my son who saw his own job being advertised which forced him to ask the boss was he looking for somebody else. My son is owed £800 in wages (Not been paid for 3 weeks). What can I do?

Our Response:
There is little your son can do except to apply for the wages he is owed through the small claims court (if his employer does not pay what is owed). Your son is on his probationary period so can be dismissed without any repercussions.
ContractsAndAgreements - 26-Apr-18 @ 3:37 PM
My son has been working as a joiner dor around 2 months.He has walked into work today and the boss told him that this will be his last week.This was due to an argument with another colleague who was much older who basically squared up to my son.Verbals were exchanged on both sides bit nothing physical.By all accounts the other party started it.He's had no official written or verbal warning about the incident (which is what the employer informed my son he would have to do at the start of the employment, texts have been kept).He's had no written contract from the employer.He's advertised his job before informing my son it would be his last week, in fact it was my son who saw his own job being advertised which forced him to ask the boss was he looking for somebody else.My son is owed £800 in wages (Not been paid for 3 weeks).What can I do?
Shawsy - 24-Apr-18 @ 12:41 PM
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