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

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 23 Sep 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]
Hello I just started my new job 1 week ago but I have not been my contract yet. I would like resign from my position as I have not been given induction training or any sort of help and was told that Iwillnot be given my contract or traininguntil my probation ends. Can I leave without notice since I have not signed anything .
Joe - 23-Sep-17 @ 12:50 PM
Hi, I've been working for a nails salon for almost 2 years but I never had a written contract not holiday paid. I work term time only with 16 hours a week. I get working tax credit, so they have my employee and employer number. I want to ask my boss about it but worry that she may dismiss me and fire me for asking as I heard other employee has been turning away. However, some other employee has an employment rights (white British and I am British citizen but a non-white British) What right do I have if I take my boss to court if she refuse to pay my employment'a right? It'd be appropriate for your help! Regards.
D - 22-Sep-17 @ 5:49 PM
MegaMan - Your Question:
So, I've been in work since 12 - July - 2017. I know that I cant claim much. But I've asked for a contract of sort since day one. So that I can at least have a look at it. I have been informed this morning (21-Sept-17) That I wont be working after tomorrow.?That's quite a sudden notice. So. Given my circumstances I know I cant ask why So, having no contract even the basic one that employers must provide by law after the first month, what options do I actually have? Thank you For any Response.

Our Response:
I'm afraid you don't have any legal recourse here. If you are on a probationary period, then your employer can let you go without explanation if your employer feels you are not the right person for the job. However, there is little you can do to address the fact your employer had not given you a contract to date. Only if you were working there still, could you raise a grievance directly to your employer that you had not been issued with a contract.
ContractsAndAgreements - 22-Sep-17 @ 11:24 AM
So, I've been in work since 12 - July - 2017. I know that I cant claim much. But I've asked for a contract of sort since day one. So that I can at least have a look at it. I have been informed this morning (21-Sept-17) That I wont be working after tomorrow.? That's quite a sudden notice. So.. Given my circumstances I know I cant ask why So, having no contract even the basic one that employers must provide by law after the first month, what options do I actually have? Thank you For any Response.
MegaMan - 21-Sep-17 @ 1:13 PM
Hi I started a job in may this year in an multinational oil company and still not received a contract 5 months I have asked line management and still not received one anther employee asked and got dismissed for this so I am reluctant to keep asking also I went on a course recently but was givin the wrong address no contact info was given and as a result they told me not to come back to work any suggestions please
Mike86 - 19-Sep-17 @ 7:53 PM
MissM - Your Question:
Hi, I've been working for a very small business for 14 weeks and have repeatedly asked for either a contract or a written statement of particulars which has been ignored every time. I'm under the impression I work 16-20 hours a week (4 hours a day) but this often runs over to up to 26 hours a week and 5 sometimes 6 hours a day. Lately the manager has claimed my availability is very poor when the staff are asked on a weekly basis what their shift availability is and most of my dates where I have been unable to work were stated at interview. I have also just had 2 weeks of holiday but have not been paid for the first week (should be paid on weekly basis). Is this a breach of contract? I have yet to discuss with the mananger what happened to my payment which intend to do on my return to work, but they very often don't appear and leave staff alone to carry out the work.

Our Response:
Firstly, with regards to your holiday pay, you may not have accrued enough annual holiday entitlement (if you have been there for just 14 weeks). Therefore, your employer may not have to pay you. With regards to your contract, much depends upon whether you are on a fixed-hour or zero hour agreement. 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. If your employer is refusing this, you can raise a grievance, please see link here . However, you may also be still in your probationary period and your employer may be holding off until they decide whether to keep you on. A probationary period usually lasts 12 weeks - six months. Talking to your employer directly is key here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 18-Sep-17 @ 12:53 PM
My husband was a delivery driver and then got promoted into a dispatch post. No training was given and my husband learnt the job as he went along. The job role was never actually told to my husband and when things went uncompleted my husband was unaware. No verbal or written warning was given and then my husband was given a letter for a disciplinary hearing next week. This is due to various jobs that are meant to be completed be my husband and were not. though as I stated my husband did not have a specific job role listed to him and though some paperwaork went amiss he was always helping the team in other areas where he worked. This disciplinary hearing has come a blow to my husband as he has always strived to do his best. Can they dismiss him without him having any previous warning. What are his rights please.
Donwill - 15-Sep-17 @ 11:01 PM
Hi, I've been working for a very small business for 14 weeks and have repeatedly asked for either a contract or a written statement of particulars which has been ignored every time. I'm under the impression I work 16-20 hours a week (4 hours a day) but this often runs over to up to 26 hours a week and 5 sometimes 6 hours a day. Lately the manager has claimed my availability is very poor when the staff are asked on a weekly basis what their shift availability is and most of my dates where I have been unable to work were stated at interview. I have also just had 2 weeks of holiday but have not been paid for the first week (should be paid on weekly basis). Is this a breach of contract? I have yet to discuss with the mananger what happened to my payment which intend to do on my return to work, but they very often don't appear and leave staff alone to carry out the work.
MissM - 15-Sep-17 @ 6:22 PM
Lauren - Your Question:
Hi,I've been employed since April and have been asking for a contract but still havnt received anything. I've been messaging and emailing and I get told the same everytime it's being written up or it's been sent in the post yet still nothing. I need one to show to my local housing and I don't know how else I'm meant to get one. Any advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
If your employer is ignoring you, then you can raise a grievance, please see link here .
ContractsAndAgreements - 14-Sep-17 @ 3:08 PM
Hi, I've been employed since April and have been asking for a contract but still havnt received anything. I've been messaging and emailing and I get told the same everytime it's being written up or it's been sent in the post yet still nothing. I need one to show to my local housing and I don't know how else I'm meant to get one. Any advice would be appreciated.
Lauren - 14-Sep-17 @ 10:06 AM
slovertra - Your Question:
I work for a pop up restaurant for last 4 month.i ask for a contract sins the fist month but never give one.i have my ltd company and I don't have payslip because I invoice Avery end off the month my hour.the Ar terminate my contract whit not notice.i be work from 11 am to 4 am 4 day a week and 2 more day 14:00 to 3 am I never want to work more the 48 houre a week.but I have not choisei finish 7 day I finish the still have to pay me last 6 week of work ,total ammount of 6000 pound.the nn answer my call or my email.i don't not more what to do.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, regardless of whether you have a contract, you may be able to apply via the small claims court to get paid the money you are owed, please see link here .
ContractsAndAgreements - 11-Sep-17 @ 4:08 PM
Sammy - Your Question:
I worked in a kebab shop 3 months and the paid me under the minimum wae.i asked them to prepare me a contract and my payslips but they just keep promisin me and never gave me one.They also have been so racist to me and I also have been discriminated about my race and civil partnership.i have a lot of witnesses who knows I did worked there.i have contacted acas to see what happens but when my employer responded to acas they said I have been workin just 5-8 times in several months.they also slandered that I have been stolen momey from till and thts why they fire me.they called the police after I have sent them a letter that I will take the case to employment tribunaL.My question is whats are my chances to win.after all this bad experience my feelings are injured and they have been so racist to me.i et paid less than min. wage.what can I do next.end of the september I am attendin court.thank you

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot predict what a tribunal will decide. But you can see more about the process via the CAB link here which should inform you further.
ContractsAndAgreements - 11-Sep-17 @ 11:01 AM
i work for a pop up restaurant for last 4 month .i ask for a contract sins the fist month but never give one..i have my ltd company and i don't have payslip because i invoice Avery end off the month my hour .the Ar terminate my contract whit not notice .i be work from 11 am to 4 am 4 day a weekand 2 more day14:00 to 3 am i never wantto work more the 48 houre a week .but i have not choise i finish7 day i finish the still have to pay me last 6 week of work ,total ammount of 6000 pound . the nn answer my call or my email .i don't not more what to do.
slovertra - 9-Sep-17 @ 6:11 PM
i worked in a kebab shop 3 months and the paid me under the minimum wae.i asked them to prepare me a contract and my payslips but they just keep promisin me and never gave me one.They also have been so racist to me and i also have been discriminated about my race and civil partnership.i have a lot of witnesses who knows i did worked there.i have contacted acas to see what happens but when my employer responded to acas they said i have been workin just 5-8 times in several months.they also slandered that i have been stolen momey from till and thts why they fire me.they called the police after i have sent them a letter that i will take the case to employment tribunaL.My question is whats are my chances to win..after all this bad experience my feelings are injured and they have been so racist to me.i et paid less than min. wage.what can i do next.end of the september i am attendin court...thank you
Sammy - 9-Sep-17 @ 1:51 AM
I started my employment in January as was told my contract would be 20 hours a week. I asked for my contract to sign and they said there wasn't a written contract but I had a contract with them. Everything seemed to be fine until the other day when I went into work. The manager said she might not be able to give me any hours next week? Is this legal? Any help on my rights would be appreciated. Also holidays? No one has mentioned how many holidays i can have. I don't actually get a week off until the end of September bearing in mind I've been there since January and I'm not even sure if I get paid? I don't know what to do about any of this? Phil
Phil - 2-Sep-17 @ 11:44 AM
Ana - Your Question:
Hi, I worked for a company around 1 year, I had no contract. I got money in cash. Half a year ago I left (with one-month notice period,how they wanted). And I still didn't get a money. Is there any way to get my money back?

Our Response:
If there was no contract and you were paid in cash without your employer paying tax and national insurance, then you would not be able to make a claim. If your employer was paying tax and national insurance on your behalf, then you may wish to try taking it to the small claims court. If you were self-employed and you have evidence to say that you carried out the work, then you also may be able to claim the money owed via the small claims court. In order to take the matter to the small claims court, you would need clear evidence that you were employed and evidence to prove the money was owed in order to make a claim.
ContractsAndAgreements - 1-Sep-17 @ 2:05 PM
Elliott - Your Question:
I have recently suffered a shoulder injury at work, and have been told I will only recieve £89 a week in sick pay. I have informed my employer I am going to have to claim compensation as I cant live on that amount, and have exhausted every other anvenue including tempory benifits to mo avail. I was if I claimed I would be out of a job because I have been there less than two weeks and have no written contract. I just want to know whwt my rights are.

Our Response:
Generally, you'll only have the right to Statutory Sick Pay, given the length of time you have been employed. In most cases, you need to have been employed with the same employer for a minimum period of 23 months and three weeks with the same employer to make a claim for unfair dismissal. You would really have to seek legal advice regarding any claim for compensation or what your legal rights are, as it is impossible to advise without knowing the finer details.
ContractsAndAgreements - 1-Sep-17 @ 1:55 PM
Hi, I worked for a company around 1 year, I had no contract. I got money in cash. Half a year ago I left (with one-month notice period,how they wanted). And I still didn't get a money. Is there any way to get my money back?
Ana - 31-Aug-17 @ 8:41 PM
I have recently suffered a shoulder injury at work, and have been told i will only recieve £89 a week in sick pay. I have informed my employer i am going to have to claim compensation as i cant live on that amount, and have exhausted every other anvenue including tempory benifits to mo avail. I was if i claimed i would be out of a job because i have been there less than two weeks and have no written contract. I just want to know whwt my rights are.
Elliott - 31-Aug-17 @ 7:35 PM
Jepjep93- Your Question:
I did a 1 week trial before Christmas 2016 and started working there full time January 2017 I kept getting told I'd receive a contract soon to no avail I became ill in February and was dismissed, which I agreed which as it was due to illness I had before starting to work there, they called me in may and asked me to return to work as the previous employee was not suitable, I returned full time and was once again told id receive a contract, I was then without notice put on part time, I have recently gained a qualification in my area of work and requested the contract to state the job is permanent all be it part time and asked my employer to consider a pay rise, it is now 3 days later and as I was leaving work for the day/week my employer told me he's advertised my job and not to come in next week as he is trialling my replacement and will let me know if they want me to return, I'm sure this is some sort of unfair dismissal as there have not been any issues as I am over qualified or complaints at work. What can I do ?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, you cannot claim unfair dismissal until you have been employed by your employer for two years. However, there are exceptions and dismissals which take place for a discriminatory reason will be actionable irrespective of length of service, please see link here .
ContractsAndAgreements - 31-Aug-17 @ 3:40 PM
Brady - Your Question:
I am currently leaving a job I have done for some time but neither myself or my employer have a copy of any signed contract for this job and I don't remember signing one when I took up the current position. I did sign one many years ago for a lesser role which I no longer do. My question is do I still have to work a notice period. The employer is stating there is a 3 month notice period but I have no contract and the older contract state 2 months. Any help would be great

Our Response:
If there is no contract in place, then you should really negotiate directly with your employer for a compromise. Your employer cannot force you to give the required notice when there is no written agreement signed by you both. Your employer will need to be flexible here and at least keep to the conditions of the former contract where no latter one exists.
ContractsAndAgreements - 31-Aug-17 @ 2:08 PM
Tonia - Your Question:
Good day,I have worked for a company about a month and a half, I have no contract in place what is my notice period as my employer request me to work 2 weeks notice?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you need a reference from the company. As a rule, if you are on a probationary period, one week's notice is usually the standard required notice period. Of course, if you haven't yet been given a contract it is up to you what notice you wish to give. But it's always best to come to an amicable and mutual agreement.
ContractsAndAgreements - 31-Aug-17 @ 9:59 AM
I did a 1 week trial before Christmas 2016 and started working there full time January 2017 I kept getting told I'd receive a contract soon to no avail I became ill in February and was dismissed, which I agreed which as it was due to illness I had before starting to work there, they called me in may and asked me to return to work as the previous employee was not suitable, I returned full time and was once again told id receive a contract, I was then without notice put on part time, I have recently gained a qualification in my area of work and requested the contract to state the job is permanent all be it part time and asked my employer to consider a pay rise, it is now 3 days later and as I was leaving work for the day/week my employer told me he's advertised my job and not to come in next week as he is trialling my replacement and will let me know if they want me to return, I'm sure this is some sort of unfair dismissal as there have not been any issues as I am over qualified or complaints at work. What can I do ?
Jepjep93 - 31-Aug-17 @ 12:54 AM
I am currently leaving a job I have done for some time but neither myself or my employer have a copy of any signed contract for this job and I don't remember signing one when I took up the current position. I did sign one many years ago for a lesser role which I no longer do. My question is do I still have to work a notice period. The employer is stating there is a 3 month notice period but I have no contract and the older contract state 2 months. Any help would be great
Brady - 30-Aug-17 @ 4:50 PM
Good day, I have worked for a company about a month and a half, I have no contract in place what is my notice period as my employer request me to work 2 weeks notice?
Tonia - 30-Aug-17 @ 8:35 AM
Sam28 - Your Question:
I have worked for a chip shop for 2 years and it was taken over in June 2017 and I completed a new hmrc document for pay on 25th July. This week however basically most of the staff have been give no hours, most of us work part time and none of us have signed a contract and they don't care they just say they don't need us but are getting new employees to fill our gap. Can they do this to us?

Our Response:
Due to the complexity of transfers of ownership, I have included a WorkSmart link here which tells you what your new can and cannot do after a take over and whether your existing contract remains in force. I hope this answers your question. If it doesn't, you may wish to give ACAS a call.
ContractsAndAgreements - 29-Aug-17 @ 9:56 AM
I worked for a lady who got direct payments.i had no contract.she changed my weekly pay to monthly pay a year after i started work without telling me.when she went on holliday she used my holliday entitlement and didnt pay me.she cancelled me going 20 mins before i was due to go into work and didnt pay me.i recently gave my notice in using my 10 days of hollidaysas part of my notice(so she had 14 days notice)which i had to take unpaid because she used all my hollidays .i recieved a letter to say i am not entitled to my last pay as she is not taking my holliday into consideration as notice as i am not entitled to hollodays as i have not recrued any.i couldnt recrue any hollidays because soon as i did she used them for herself .where do i stand without a contract as she never gave me any notice as to what was doing
Looby - 28-Aug-17 @ 11:10 PM
I have worked for a chip shop for 2 years and it was taken over in June 2017 and I completed a new hmrc document for pay on 25th July. This week however basically most of the staff have been give no hours, most of us work part time and none of us have signed a contract and they don't care they just say they don't need us but are getting new employees to fill our gap. Can they do this to us?
Sam28 - 27-Aug-17 @ 1:31 AM
Frakie - Your Question:
I have been employed for 3 years and get paid weekly in cash. I have always been paid my annual leave on my last shift before I go on leave. My employer has told me today that he will not pay my holiday pay until I return on 4th Sept, is he allowed to do this?

Our Response:
Much depends upon the terms and conditions of your contract and what it specifies. You would have to check this - it should give you the answer you require.
ContractsAndAgreements - 25-Aug-17 @ 3:56 PM
louise - Your Question:
I started a job in June, and was told there is a three month probation period after which if I was successful I would receive a contract. I have been ill so have not been at work for numerous days - my manager advised I should have let them know I was ill before commencing work, however it is still under investigation and actually got worse whilst working there. I handed in my notice earlier this week with immediate effect due to my ill health, and should have been paid today but this hasn't happened. Should I still be paid for the work I have done? Or because I left with no notice have I sacrificed that pay? Thanks

Our Response:
You should still be paid for the work you carried out while employed there.
ContractsAndAgreements - 25-Aug-17 @ 3:23 PM
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