Home > Employment Contracts > What If I Don't Have a Written Contract With My Employer?

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

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 13 Mar 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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Hi, I'm working in a law office for about 2 years as a receptionist and I've never signed any contract. They've never raised my salary which I'm very upset about, and it's pretty low just 12/h, but the office manager said it would last only for a few couple months. I asked the raise in 4-5 months but he refused stating that it's too early. He doesn't allow me to wear jeans (I wear it very rare), BUT all of the people in company wearing jeans, leggings or jeggins on daily basis, and I'm the only one who has to hear something like "Do me a favor, don't wear jeans" as soon as I enter the office. There's plenty tattooed people for example, but he doesn't tell them to hide it during summer, of he doesn't ask another co-worker to remove her nose piercing. And he is talking about jeans, it makes me really angry and upset. Not mentioning that I have much more things to do than just cover a front desk and phone. I am confused and don't know what to do.
KrisK - 13-Mar-17 @ 3:10 PM
I work in construction as a site Labourer. Been on agency for past three years but was told verbally in December that I would be taken on by my company on a permanent basis on the next job due to start on the 16th of January. Started on that date as promised but no contract was written up until now and given a start date with the company of the 20th of march. I have been paid by the agency now and currently losing take home pay of approx £120 per week. My employer is refusing to pay me any back pay so am approx £1000 out of pocket at the moment. What can I do to recoperate any money due despite not having a written agreement just verbal.
Bertiewoo747 - 10-Mar-17 @ 12:51 AM
Hi I am a health care assistant & in writing my contract is 2 weekends& 3 nights a month, but 8 years ago I spoke to manager & it was agreed verbally that I wouldn't be rota weekend or nights & I haven't been and haven't worked weekends or nights for 8 years. Now they have rosta,d me for Saturdays! Can they just change this after all that time? Kind regards Victoria
Toria - 8-Mar-17 @ 1:35 PM
Marcela- Your Question:
Hi. I have been self employed mortgage broker with no contract. I have resigned on 5th December 2016 and I am owed money for my work. My ex employer refuses to pay me. We had no contract or written agreement in place and she is keeping my money and retaining for potential liabilities. Is she allowed to do this?

Our Response:
You would have to apply to the small claims court if the amount owed is under £10,000 and you think you have a case.
ContractsAndAgreements - 7-Mar-17 @ 11:02 AM
Hi. I have been self employed mortgage broker with no contract. I have resigned on 5th December 2016 and I am owed money for my work. My ex employer refuses to pay me. We had no contract or written agreement in place and she is keeping my money and retaining for potential liabilities. Is she allowed to do this?
Marcela - 6-Mar-17 @ 2:41 PM
HI, I started working for a company in july,i had an initial 3 month probation period. i passed that and continued working. up uni till February when i was told, my services where no longer needed. i never sighed a contract and only have the offer letter stating job role, amount to be paid, expenses covered and information regarding the 3 month probation period. for several months i was not paid my full salary and paid nothing for Januaryand February. after my probation period i kept trying to gain my contract and was told director was not in ect ect and that my bonuses was still being negotiated. now ive threaten the company with court they keep on telling me i sighned nothing so my right are limited and i should leave quietly, i was also told the reason my pay was less on some months was becuase i had been demoted from head of HR to a secatry, this was a lie and i was never informed of such nor did my job role change or aspect of my work, infact my workl load increased and i began to manage several projects at once. accas, have tried helping my current appointed officer is on holiday till the 7th, legal is not free and accas are unable to tell me legaly what chance i stand in court as they are only mediators. i still have my work laptop with 100 of correspondance which contradict there new claims. legaly do you think i have a case without a sighned contract i mean surely if i had my job role changed after the probabtion period there should be documentation stating this. since i have been trying to get my
marnie - 3-Mar-17 @ 5:11 PM
I have worked for my employer for 1 and a half years now and have only ever received 1 weeks paid holiday. I asked my employer for my holiday pay owed to me she worked out that in only owed £400and something she then said she was deducting my ssp she paid me from this amount is she allowed to do this? I don't have a written contract with my employer as she said she don't do contacts so I have no rights to take her to a tribunal is this correct.
chrispy - 3-Mar-17 @ 4:04 PM
zane - Your Question:
Hi,I have been working for a company for four years now and I haven't signed any contract.and I'm still working for this company,so I don't know what the labour law say about that.

Our Response:
The fact that you have been working for the company for this amount of time means you do have a contract, you just haven't been given the terms of it. It is in both yours and your employer's best interests to have an employment contract properly drawn up as it protects you both. Therefore, you should ask your employer directly whether you could have a copy of your contract in order to find out your terms and conditions. It is also the law that your employer should present you with one. Due to the length of time you have been with your employer (longer than two years), despite the fact you do not have a written contract, you can still bring a case for unfair dismissal should the need arise.
ContractsAndAgreements - 3-Mar-17 @ 11:55 AM
Hi,I have been working for a company for four years now and I haven't signed any contract.and I'm still working for this company,so I don't know what the labour law say about that.
zane - 2-Mar-17 @ 8:33 AM
Jem - Your Question:
I worked in a company for a year I was started last Feb 2016 and I hot my contract on march 2016 the contract I signed was just for my training for 1 month,and i'am currently working in the company after I finish my training contract, so far I have never sign for any contract for 6 months or for probationary nor regularization. I deeply analyzed that this company has no reason to give a contract the fact I was already following about. How can I have my restriction about this company.

Our Response:
You would have to speak with your employer directly about this matter and to ask for an employment contract.
ContractsAndAgreements - 27-Feb-17 @ 11:57 AM
I worked in a company for a year I was started last Feb 2016 and I hot my contract onmarch 2016 the contract I signed was just for my training for 1 month,and i'am currently working in the company after I finish my training contract, so far I have never sign for any contract for 6 months or for probationary nor regularization.. I deeply analyzed that this company has no reason to give a contract the fact I was already following about.. How can I have my restriction about this company..
Jem - 26-Feb-17 @ 2:18 PM
I was working away for my company. My job got changed to a different town ,which I accepted, but the employer wanted me finish that job then process to the the original job and help out there as well then have 6 hours rest and go to the following days job. I refused as I would not get any extra pay or get sufficient rest in between jobs. So I got called into the office and got told I was contracted for 45 hours and I should for fill them hours. We are given one job per day,the office books and times the jobs, most times the job is completed early. So the employer is saying I owe her the time. If a job is completed what are we suppose to do. I was told job and finish and rest of the employees follow the example. I have asked for a contract of emoyment in the past but have not received one. I have worked for the company for 7 months. Employer said they're going to have contract drawn up the week commencing 20/02/2017. I don't think the employer is happy with me for pointing out my rest rights and refusing extra work. What shall I do.
Shaizi - 18-Feb-17 @ 1:55 PM
I am currently working for a company and have been for the past 11 months. I will be with the coompany a year on the 3rd of March 2017. I need advice on the following. I never got a contract with the company and i work permanently for them 12 hour shift a day, no pay slips, no days off, no uif and no overtime. I work as a loss controller, but have to do security work as well. We get a fixed salary of 4000 rands a month regardless if we work holidays or Sundays (no extra only 4000 rand). The bargaining council gave them a letter of compliance for 7 days last year August or September and they have still not complied. We where graded as controllers and where supose to get 40 rand and 73 cents an hour, but still nothing. We where asked to give written statement to say we work as controllers for another company. Is this leagal? I refused and now i am being intimidated and threatened. Any assistants will be appreciated.
Piksteel - 12-Feb-17 @ 10:55 PM
I have been working for my employer just four months, it is a small company so the owner is there most of the time.He is forever putting me down, criticising everything I do and blaming me when things go wrong.In addition to this I have to go shopping for them most days either before I start work and after I have finished, I do not get paid for this time and use my own vehicle and diesel, sometimes I have to use my own money as they do not always leave me any.My hours are rounded down each day so if I have 15 minutes or 45 minutes it becomes the hour or half past the hour, I received no holiday pay for the bank holidays I was off at Christmas, I have asked for a holiday day on two separate occasions now and been refused both times.I have spoken to my employer but as he is the owner of the company there is nowhere else for me to go.Any opinions on my rights please
Lynpot - 12-Feb-17 @ 5:01 PM
Hi, I have been working for a company for about 6 months, have no contract and have been told I'm casual staff. I have also been made redundant this week as they're closing the place down due to not making any money, but they didn't tell me in person we was all being made redundant, they had another member of staff tell me, they also haven't told us when we're getting paid, what date we're getting paid up until or anything, they didn't even give us a weeks notice.. I was just wondering if I have any rights, or if I'm entitled to anything. Thank you.
Charlotte - 10-Feb-17 @ 2:08 PM
I have just started working for a company-or so I thought! The company has booked me on a 4 day training course 22mikes away from where I live, spread out over 2 weeks & I have just found out that I will not be paid for this as I have no contract & not seen as an employee yet. However they did get me to sign an agreement that stated I would stay with the company for 12 months or I will have to pay for the training course. Where do I stand on this? I feel that it was a very shady move and I would like to leave now before I get to see a contract!! Any advice would be appreciated
Bobby - 2-Feb-17 @ 10:57 PM
If I worked for a company for 2 1/2 years and I accumulated 2 weeks paid vacation and 32 hours paid time off, and I quit without notice,can they keep my vacation time? I also owed a balance of $700 for merchandize, can they use all my last paycheck towards that when they only take $100 per check? Can my vacation time be used towards that, or can they keep it? Is vacation considered time earned as well as hours earned to be paid?
Cher - 2-Feb-17 @ 6:21 AM
London - Your Question:
I was working for this company for 2years never received a written contract, recently got dismissed. What rights do I have in a situation like that? Can I take it forward?

Our Response:
It depends why you were dismissed and what sort of contract you were on. If you worked for someone without a contract who did not pay tax and national insurance on your behalf, then you were working illegally and therefore have no employment rights. If you were working for someone on a self-employment or 'zero hours' basis and they have stopped using you, then you have no rights either. If you were on a permanent contract and your employer paid tax and national insurance via PAYE, then please see link here to see whether you may have any rights.
ContractsAndAgreements - 31-Jan-17 @ 11:52 AM
I was working for this company for 2years never received a written contract, recently got dismissed. What rights do I have in a situation like that? Can i take it forward?
London - 30-Jan-17 @ 4:31 PM
Hello, I was wondering if you shed some light on the situation I am currently in. I was hired to work on 18/12/16 on basis that it would be 8 hour permanent contract with room for overtime due to availability for holiday season. Began first shift on 20th but received no written contract even after asking, was told I would receive it later. Two weeks later, I was told I was a 24 hour temp. Then further two weeks later, I was told no permanent position was available and given notice. I missed the cut off period to get paid in December, (happened in a pervious job aswell; didn't think much as there was no trouble then). So my paycheque for a 24 hour contract over a 6 week period came through, and I was paid a measly amount. I need to follow this up, but what can be done as the manager has changed my hours without prior notification and no written contract? How can I rectify this as soon as possible?
Sam - 28-Jan-17 @ 9:40 PM
I was off for five days ( which I wasn't paid ssp ) I met with my boss on Monday to return to work as I was feeling better and he told me to take a few days off and would contact me in a couple of days. I checked my back on the Friday and was not paid. Surly I should have been paid as it was not my fault I was off .
gordon - 28-Jan-17 @ 10:59 AM
I was working for a company i had no contract, the hours i signed up for turned out to be less then what i actually got, then after 1 month they told me they no longer needed me. I was not given a payslip and they still owe me money. what do i do?
james_o - 28-Jan-17 @ 10:25 AM
nono - Your Question:
Id it necessary to have a written contract when you are being employed.if no why and also if yes why

Our Response:
The answer to your questoin is outlined in the article.
ContractsAndAgreements - 26-Jan-17 @ 2:01 PM
Hi my daughter in law has worked for a company without a written contract for 12 months and the company jas gone into liquidation. She has been told that its highly likely that there will be no wages paid tomorrow but that she still has to turn up to work just in case. Without the contrsct can she claim from thr gvt for loss of wages under the NI scheme?
Cammy - 26-Jan-17 @ 5:20 AM
hi can you please help me I've been working for my employer for 4 moths now and we don't have a written contract. now my employer is giving me extra duties that we didn't agree on. do i have a right to say no
nono - 25-Jan-17 @ 2:07 PM
id it necessary to have a writtencontract when you are being employed.if no why and also if yes why
nono - 25-Jan-17 @ 1:59 PM
Sammm- Your Question:
Can anyone help me please I am 18 years old and I worked at a nursery for 3 months. It was supposed to be an apprenticeship and I was being paid the apprenticeships wage but they didn't actually sign me up for the apprenticeship do they owe me any money ? I don't see why I was being paid an apprenticeships wage when they didn't sign me up for the apprenticeship

Our Response:
You don't say whether you were given an employment contract at the start of your position, or a letter confirming the terms of your employment. If you did, then these terms will stand. If you didn't, then I'm afraid you still do not have a case to answer, as without a contract you have no rights.
ContractsAndAgreements - 25-Jan-17 @ 1:54 PM
Can anyone help me please I am 18 years old and I worked at a nursery for 3 months. It was supposed to be an apprenticeship and I was being paid the apprenticeships wage but they didn't actually sign me up for the apprenticeship do they owe me any money ? I don't see why I was being paid an apprenticeships wage when they didn't sign me up for the apprenticeship
Sammm - 25-Jan-17 @ 2:14 AM
jen - Your Question:
I have been working in my job for 4 months and haven't received a written contract, I had a verbal agreement with my boss before I started about what hours I would be doing 9am/1pm as I'm a single parent I can't work any other hours. I worked that for a period then he told me he had to change my hours for a while. I was told last week I would be getting them hours back and now he employed someone new and gave her them hours. I can't work the hours that he's now telling me I have to work. I wouldn't have took the job to work hours that didn't suit me and think that it's really unfair that he has employed someone new and gave them hours that where agreed to me. Is there anything I can do?

Our Response:
You really need to ask your employer directly for your contract and the type of contract it is. If the contract is a 'zero hours' contract, then your contract hours can be changed, reduced or extended. Unless, you have received a written contract you curently have no real employment rights.
ContractsAndAgreements - 23-Jan-17 @ 11:19 AM
I havebeen working in my job for 4 months and haven't receiveda written contract, I had a verbal agreementwith my boss before I started about what hours I would be doing 9am/1pm as I'm a single parent I can't work any other hours. I worked that for a periodthen he told me he had to change my hours for a while. I was told last week I would be getting them hours back and now he employedsomeone new and gave her them hours. I can't work the hours that he's now telling me I have to work. I wouldn't have took the job to work hours that didn't suit me and think that it's really unfair that he has employed someone new and gave them hours that where agreed to me. Is there anything I can do?
jen - 22-Jan-17 @ 10:23 AM
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