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

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 22 Jul 2017 |
 
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 get paid on the 24th of each month That pay is from 1st to 31st I leave on the 28th However i have been told my holidays will not be paid until august I donr work a single day in august therefore as per my contractual payment days july should be my last date of pay including holidays
Traciej82 - 22-Jul-17 @ 12:20 AM
AbberCat - Your Question:
My daughter is an apprentice and has finished her 2 years. She is still working at the company but no one has spoken to her about what happens next. She is concerned that they will still be paying her apprentice wages rather than minimum wage as she hasn't been given a new contract even though her old one has expired as her apprenticeship has finished. What are her rights. Should she receive minimum wage now?

Our Response:
Your daughter needs to approach her line manager directly regarding this matter. However, she should receive minimum wage if her apprenticeship has now finished.
ContractsAndAgreements - 21-Jul-17 @ 2:09 PM
Rani - Your Question:
Hi,I was employed by a university on a zero hour 'as and when basis' contract as a postgraduate teaching assistant; the contract starts September and ends June every year. From June 2016, I was working in a full time position as a administrative assistant, 5 days a week until July, however my zero hour contract expired on 30th June 2017. I was offered a permanent contract which starts on August 1 2017, and my manager told me that she will extend the zero hour contract from the end of June till July 2017, until my permanent contract starts on August 1st, so I can continue working. On Tuesday 18th July, I was called in for a meeting, and my manager tells me that I will not be offered any more work, as I am not a worker anymore. This is because there has been an allegation on me based on assumptions. I have not been given a chance to put forward my opinions or evidence, or even collect my own evidence.What can I do? As ACAS told me they made me work illegally as there was no written contract for the month of July.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we cannot offer any further advice on what ACAS can offer. Except to say, an employer can terminate a zero hour employment contract within the first two years of employment without fear of an unfair dismissal claim. Under a zero hours contract, while workers have the same rights as those workers with regular hours - there is no obligation for employers to offer work, or likewise for workers to accept any hours they are offered.
ContractsAndAgreements - 21-Jul-17 @ 10:57 AM
My daughter is an apprentice and has finished her 2 years. She is still working at the company but no one has spoken to her about what happens next. She is concerned that they will still be paying her apprentice wages rather than minimum wage as she hasn't been given a new contract even though her old one has expired as her apprenticeship has finished. What are her rights. Should she receive minimum wage now?
AbberCat - 21-Jul-17 @ 9:26 AM
paul123 - Your Question:
Hi I was working for an employer for 4 months. I was let go with no notice just turned up one day and was told I was not needed. I never signed a contract with this employer just a new starter form. I have not been paid any holiday for the 4 months I was there. I taken no holiday while working for them and was on a 40 hours per week. I have made multiple attempts to phone the employer asking why I have not been paid any holiday I keep being told they will get back to me but it's been 16 days now and no reply. I went into my store and got the in store manager to call and was once again told they would call me that day but nothing. What are my options going forward? Thanks

Our Response:
If you have not been paid your holiday entitlement in your final paypacket, then you can work out how much you should be paid via the link here. You should then send a letter to your employer asking for this information and/or payment. If your former employer continues to ignore you, you can apply via the small claims court.
ContractsAndAgreements - 20-Jul-17 @ 2:18 PM
Hi, I was employed by a university on a zero hour 'as and when basis' contract as a postgraduate teaching assistant; the contract starts September and ends June every year. From June 2016, I was working in a full time position as a administrative assistant, 5 days a week until July, however my zero hour contract expired on 30th June 2017. I was offered a permanent contract which starts on August 1 2017, and my manager told me that she will extend the zero hour contract from the end of June till July 2017, until my permanent contract starts on August 1st, so I can continue working. On Tuesday 18th July, I was called in for a meeting, and my manager tells me that I will not be offered any more work, as I am not a worker anymore. This is because there has been an allegation on me based on assumptions. I have not been given a chance to put forward my opinions or evidence, or even collect my own evidence. What can I do? As ACAS told me they made me work illegally as there was no written contract for the month of July.
Rani - 20-Jul-17 @ 12:21 PM
Rufus - Your Question:
Good morning, My wife (retired) books a swimming pool one evening per week, to teach children to swim. She has booked this school swimming pool for the past 20 years. same evening and times. The Manager (reps the school) has just phoned her up to say that they are terminating the booking from December 31st 2017, so are giving her notice. The school will be employing teachers and lifeguards themselves to teach swimming starting 2018. Due to the length of time she has been booking the pool does she have any legal rights to stay or be given more notice? The other issue is that the school will obviously pick up all the children who my my wife currently teaches, because there are no other pools available for booking in the area. Thank you

Our Response:
@Rufus - If your wife has no contract with the swimming pool owners and is self-employed then she has no rights. Even if she had a contract, there would be terms attached which may say the pool owners can terminate the contract at any time. Unfortunately, there is little she can do here unless she is employed directly by the pool owners to do the job.
ContractsAndAgreements - 20-Jul-17 @ 12:21 PM
Rui - Your Question:
Been working for this small private company he's paying me cash in hand and refuses to pay my national insurance and also my holidays what can I do as he's breaking the law ?

Our Response:
Your only options are to speak to your employer directly. Or you can report a business or your employer to HMRC if they’re paying workers ‘cash in hand’ without paying Income Tax or National Insurance. Please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 20-Jul-17 @ 12:11 PM
Hi i was working for an employer for 4 months. i was let go with no notice just turned up one day and was told i was not needed. I never signed a contract with this employer just a new starter form. I have not been paid any holiday for the 4 months i was there. I taken no holiday while working for them and was on a 40 hours per week. I have made multiple attempts to phone the employer asking why i have not been paid any holiday i keep being told they will get back to me but it's been 16 days now and no reply. I went into my store and got the in store manager to call and was once again told they would call me that day but nothing. What are my options going forward? Thanks
paul123 - 19-Jul-17 @ 10:30 PM
Good morning, My wife (retired) books a swimming pool one evening per week, to teach children to swim. She has booked this school swimming pool for the past 20 years ... same evening and times. The Manager (reps the school) has just phoned her up to say that they are terminating the booking from December 31st 2017, so are giving her notice. The school will be employing teachers and lifeguards themselves to teach swimming starting 2018. Due to the length of time she has been booking the pool does she have any legal rights to stay or be given more notice? The other issue is that the school will obviously pick up all the children who my my wife currently teaches, because there are no other pools available for booking in the area. Thank you
Rufus - 19-Jul-17 @ 12:10 PM
Been working for this small private company he's paying me cash in hand and refuses to pay my national insurance and also my holidays what can I do as he's breaking the law ?
Rui - 19-Jul-17 @ 10:21 AM
Hi i am working as a housemaid and im staying for 5 months to my sponsor but until now my sponsor not make medical for me to fix my visa what should i do? I have already employment visa but still no stamp thats why until now i have no medical
Kakay - 19-Jul-17 @ 1:11 AM
I have been working for 3 years for my employer. She took our detail this year to register for Uif. But when we check we not registered. I do not have written contract. Last week i walked out when she was insulting me because of my mistake on the recipe. So now she gave me warning can i refuse to sign. Because we dnt have written agreement.
zee - 18-Jul-17 @ 2:05 PM
Micky - Your Question:
Ive been working for my company for 3 months they pay me cash in hand and ask me to right down my address date and sicnichure I have no contract and I wasent well sataday hes told me I need to bring a note I told him I need to wait 7 days then he said he wants a note saying im clear to work in a kitchen by tuesday so hes asking me to get a appoinment at the doctors and get a note in one day if not im not aloud back so been sacked have I got a leg to stand on

Our Response:
Unfortunately, no. You have no recourse if you have only been in the job a short time and if you have no contract and are being paid cash.
ContractsAndAgreements - 18-Jul-17 @ 10:01 AM
Kmess - Your Question:
Hi, I started working at a school in september 2016 as a unqualified teacher. I was under the impression that I was technically a student and employed by the partnership 'University' when I was not given any form of contract by the school. The school dismissed me for not logging out of an ipad and stated that the reason they followed through with this was because I was on probabtion and produced an unsigned contract that I had never seen before with my name misspelt which stated I was on a probabtion period. I am aware that refusal to sign a seen contract still makes the contract enforceable however I was wondering whether an unseen contract that you never knew existed still had this power. Thank you.

Our Response:
You may wish to give ACAS a call regarding this. As a rule an employer has to issue you with a written contract in the first two months of working for an organisation.
ContractsAndAgreements - 17-Jul-17 @ 11:55 AM
Ive been working for my company for 3 months they pay me cash in hand and ask me to right down my address date and sicnichure i have no contract and i wasent well sataday hes told me i need to bring a note i told him i need to wait 7 days then he said he wants a note saying im clear to work in a kitchen by tuesday so hes asking me to get a appoinment at the doctors and get a note in one day if not im not aloud back so been sacked have i got a leg to stand on
Micky - 16-Jul-17 @ 6:19 PM
Hi, I started working at a school in september 2016 as a unqualified teacher. I was under the impression that I was technically a student and employed by the partnership 'University' when I was not given any form of contract by the school. The school dismissed me for not logging out of an ipad and stated that the reason they followed through with this was because I was on probabtion and produced an unsigned contract that I had never seen before with my name misspelt which stated I was on a probabtion period. I am aware that refusal to sign a seen contract still makes the contract enforceable however I was wondering whether an unseen contract that you never knew existed still had this power. Thank you.
Kmess - 15-Jul-17 @ 10:50 AM
Eddie - Your Question:
I was employed and worked 60 hours during my probation period,I left as the work was far to stressful!I have returned my uniform! Is my employer obliged to pay me for the hours I worked?

Our Response:
Yes, your employer is obliged to pay you for the work you have done unless agreed otherwise.
ContractsAndAgreements - 14-Jul-17 @ 2:13 PM
I was employed and worked 60 hours during my probation period,I left as the work was far to stressful! I have returned my uniform! Is my employer obliged to pay me for the hours I worked?
Eddie - 14-Jul-17 @ 12:29 AM
SmartAl - Your Question:
I have no written contract and have been in the same job for three and a half years although the business was sold in January so I now have new employers. I recently got another job so was wondering how much notice I have to give without a contract.

Our Response:
You would have to discusss this with your new employer directly.
ContractsAndAgreements - 11-Jul-17 @ 9:51 AM
I have no written contract and have been in the same job for three and a half years although the business was sold in January so I now have new employers. I recently got another job so was wondering how much notice I have to give without a contract.
SmartAl - 10-Jul-17 @ 7:41 AM
mea mea - Your Question:
Hi, I gave my employer three weeks notice and she terminated my employment that day. I have no written contract and am wondering what my rights are and what I am entitled to, if anything.

Our Response:
Much depends upon how long you have been employed and whether you are legally employed. I'm afraid you would have to give some more information i.e whether you are registered for paying tax and national insurance through your employer and how long you have been employed in this specific job?
ContractsAndAgreements - 7-Jul-17 @ 3:23 PM
Hi I have been working in private care and I am employed by the clients mom I have been working there for 5 months now and have got another job that's more suited I told them about this job a couple of weeks ago and since then I have felt uncomfortable as she keeps making remarks about me leaving and making me work twice as hard I don't have a contract but have got 75 hours holiday pay am I still entitled to them I am not working my notice
Kim - 7-Jul-17 @ 1:06 PM
rosina - Your Question:
I have working a company without a contract at a period of 3yrs bt stil have no contract

Our Response:
You would have to speak to your employer directly regarding this. If you are employed legally and are paying income tax and national insurance through HMRC, then you are entitled by law to receive a written employment contract.
ContractsAndAgreements - 6-Jul-17 @ 3:00 PM
Ihave working acompany without a contract at a period of 3yrs bt stil have no contract
rosina - 5-Jul-17 @ 2:22 PM
banners - Your Question:
I was working for a company that was bought out by another. The company I now work for and have been for the past two years gave me a promotion but I've never received a contract explaining my salary etc. I've been paid the same amount of money each month which is made up of a basic salary and a bonus. Recently the payment I receive has been questioned by my employer, who has indicated that I'm going to receive a deduction. My question is, as I've never received a contract of employment, are my employers able to carry out this deduction?

Our Response:
By the nature of the fact you have a regular salary and you are employed by this company means you have a contract in place. If you receive a deduction in your wage, then this can be questioned. In the first instance you might wish to ask your employer for a copy of your existing contract. If your employer refuses, or ignores your request, you can raise a grievance, please see link here . Even though you do not have a written contract in place, you do have significant rights and therefore you may wish to give ACAS a call in order to receive advice on your options regarding this matter.
ContractsAndAgreements - 4-Jul-17 @ 4:12 PM
G - Your Question:
Hi. I started working for a small business 14th July 16 they terminated me in June 8 17. I received my final pay on right date but was totally wrong I wasn't paid the right holidays & they took deductions out for the work I didn't do when I phoned in sick because my child was poorly. They stated that this was in my contract to which when I first stared I only signed a pronation one which I left at the shop as that's what they said other employees do only realising now this was a silly move. The probation period was only for 3 months if I remember rightly from then I have never had it upgraded or signed another one. Is there any thing I can do to try get the money I'm owed. Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to either attempt to resolve this with your previous employer directly, or take the matter to the small claims court in order to try to reclaim the money you feel you are owed.
ContractsAndAgreements - 4-Jul-17 @ 1:02 PM
@Mrs M - I suppose your only problem is if you want a reference when you go on to your next employer - it is unlikely to be forthcoming if you leave on bad terms. It's something to think about - but on a practical side, if there has never been a written contract there's not much you can do. In addition if you leave your job you're unlikely to be awarded Jobseekers Allowance.
Jo - 3-Jul-17 @ 3:27 PM
Hi.... I started working for a company less than a year ago as a designers assistant.After 3 months I requested a contract which my designer was to sort out. HR told me that the designer was to do that. I have up till today 1/7/2017 never received a contract. A build up of unhappines in my workplace started with verbal abuse from husband and wife owners. Husband would swear at us and directly at me. Wife would threaten with getting rid of me. I have spoken HR but nothing changed. Last week was the last straw where I had to deal with the verbal abuse of both husband and wife. I have decided to not go back to that place. What is my legal rights as to this problem.If i did have to work outa notice period it would be living hell. This people was extremely unprofessional..... blamed me for everybody else's work gone wrong. Awaiting your reply.
Mrs M - 1-Jul-17 @ 6:20 PM
Hi. I started working for a small business 14th July 16 they terminated me in June 8 17. I received my final pay on right date but was totally wrong I wasn't paid the right holidays & they took deductions out for the work I didn't do when I phoned in sick because my child was poorly. They stated that this was in my contract to which when I first stared I only signed a pronation one which I left at the shop as that's what they said other employees do only realising now this was a silly move. The probation period was only for 3 months if I remember rightly from then I have never had it upgraded or signed another one. Is there any thing I can do to try get the money I'm owed. Thanks
G - 30-Jun-17 @ 10:13 PM
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