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

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 24 Apr 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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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
Goliath - Your Question:
I have worked for a company for 20 years and they have decided to being in employment contracts. I am wondering if I have the right to refuse a contract since I've been employed for 20 years. They are bringing this in to avoid paying severance pay with long time employees. What are my rights. Thank you I'm in Ontario

Our Response:
Unfortunately, as we are a UK-based website. we can only give advice to those who live in the UK (as employment laws differ.)
ContractsAndAgreements - 23-Apr-18 @ 11:57 AM
Sarah - Your Question:
After a lot of badgering & 8 months work my employer has written me a contract which I have not yet signed. I started in August. The contract specifies holiday year Jan to Dec, that holiday pay must be requested by the employee & that it can't be carried forward or retro claimed. Is this a legal constraint & can it legally be retrospectively imposed?Citizens advice website says holiday pay must be claimed within 3 months. Can my employer legally refuse to pay holiday pay accrued in the previous year, when he delayed giving a contract with the holiday year stated until this 3 month period had passed? I have colleagues who have no contract who didn't know they were eligible for holiday pay, & who have worked several years. Where do they stand with a retro claim? Thanks, Sarah

Our Response:
Regardless of whether you have a written contract in place or not, almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year, please see link here. In this case, I would speak directly to Acas for further advice. You and your colleagues would be entitled to claim if your employer has not issued contracts outlining company terms until after the its stated deadline and had not informed you of this clause.
ContractsAndAgreements - 23-Apr-18 @ 10:34 AM
After a lot of badgering & 8 months work my employer has written me a contract which I have not yet signed. I started in August. The contract specifies holiday year Jan to Dec, that holiday pay must be requested by the employee & that it can't be carried forward or retro claimed. Is this a legal constraint & can it legally be retrospectively imposed? Citizens advice website says holiday pay must be claimed within 3 months. Can my employer legally refuse to pay holiday pay accrued in the previous year, when he delayed giving a contract with the holiday year stated until this 3 month period had passed?I have colleagues who have no contract who didn't know they were eligible for holiday pay, & who have worked several years. Where do they stand with a retro claim?Thanks, Sarah
Sarah - 22-Apr-18 @ 3:22 PM
I have worked for a company for 20 years and they have decided to being in employment contracts . I am wondering if I have the right to refuse a contract since I've been employed for 20 years. They are bringing this in to avoid paying severance pay with long time employees. What are my rights. Thank youI'm in Ontario
Goliath - 22-Apr-18 @ 1:18 AM
Fluffy - Your Question:
Hi I have been with a company seven months and have asked repeatedly for a contract in writing which was promised she gad sent it in the post it didn't arrive I have asked since can I sue or how do I stand as they seem reluctant to give me one I know that you have a verbal contract but I have also injured my hand at work due to the job needing and by law requiring two people yet I was told to do this on my own. I know this is a two part question but please how do I stand the stress has caused so much harm to my life

Our Response:
There is little you can do with regards to suiing your employer regarding a lack of contract, please see link here . If you have injured your hand at work, you may wish to speak to someone legal regarding this if the job was meant for two people, please see link here.You may wish to give Acas a call, as your question is a little confusing regarding what you wish to sue your company for.
ContractsAndAgreements - 20-Apr-18 @ 3:41 PM
Hi I have been with a company seven months and have asked repeatedly for a contract in writing which was promised she gad sent it in the post it didn't arrive I have asked since can I sue or how do I stand as they seem reluctant to give me one I know that you have a verbal contract but I have also injured my hand at work due to the job needing and by law requiring two people yet I was told to do this on my own ..... I know this is a two part question but please how do I stand the stress has caused so much harm to my life
Fluffy - 19-Apr-18 @ 10:33 PM
Rachel Taylor - Your Question:
Hello! I have been with an employer for approximately four months now. I have decided due to a variety of reasons including her appalling management and total disregard for my professional experience and knowledge, that I will be leaving to pursue my own venture. I have never been presented with a written contract, it something which she avoids when requested. I want to leave/resign but want to know where I stand if I were to resign with immediate effect or if I have to give notice even though no notice period has been stipulated.Thank you in advance for your help.

Our Response:
You would really have to discuss this with your employer directly, on the basis that you haven't a contract. As you would be still possibly/theoretically deemed to be in your probationary period (which would generally require one week's notice). However, you are not obliged to give this if there is no contractual agreement. If you wish to resign with immediate effect, then this is at your discretion. Much depends upon whether you wish to leave on good terms or not.
ContractsAndAgreements - 16-Apr-18 @ 9:16 AM
Hello! I have been with an employer for approximately four months now. I have decided due to a variety of reasonsincluding her appalling management and total disregard for my professional experience and knowledge, that I will be leaving to pursue my own venture. I have never been presented with a written contract, it something which she avoids when requested. I want to leave/resign but want to know where I stand if I were to resign with immediate effect or if I have to give notice even though no notice period has been stipulated. Thank you in advance for your help.
Rachel Taylor - 15-Apr-18 @ 8:06 AM
Ruby - Your Question:
I worked for someone for approx 7 months.I didn’t get given a contract. I gave the person my P45 and I was given a payslip once a month but I was paid weekly in cash but they never took any NI or tax out of my wages. I had to leave due to personal reasons. I wasn’t given any notice but was just told that was end of my employment. So I left after 7 months without holiday pay as apparently I wasn’t entitled to it as no contract?!?!? This seems very unfair as this is happening to the rest of the staff they are all paid the same way. Is this right???

Our Response:
Your only recourse here is to report the person for not paying tax and employing others by paying cash-in-hand please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 13-Apr-18 @ 3:43 PM
I worked for someone for approx 7 months. I didn’t get given a contract. I gave the person my P45 and I was given a payslip once a month but I was paid weekly in cash but they never took any NI or tax out of my wages. I had to leave due to personal reasons. I wasn’t given any notice but was just told that was end of my employment. So I left after 7 months without holiday pay as apparently I wasn’t entitled to it as no contract?!?!? This seems very unfair as this is happening to the rest of the staff they are all paid the same way. Is this right???
Ruby - 13-Apr-18 @ 10:25 AM
Nick - Your Question:
Hi I m working for my employer 2 month in they give me offer latter but not contract. I am keep requesting for contact but they give me excuses. I spoke with the company owner, operation manager in short all people but they are delaying to give me a contract what I can do?

Our Response:
You can see more via the link here , which should help answer your question.
ContractsAndAgreements - 10-Apr-18 @ 2:18 PM
Barry - Your Question:
Hi, I worked 6 months for a company I never signed a contract. Ileft after I felt there I was spoke to poorly and bullied at times. I phoned them and told them I was quitting. They are now refusing to pay the 3 weeks wages I worked. Could you tell me where I stand and have a right to receive the money I worked for? Thank you.

Our Response:
If the company refuses to pay three weeks wages (which you should be entitled to, if you worked these hours), then you would have to approach this through the small claims court. Please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 9-Apr-18 @ 12:50 PM
Hi, I worked 6 months for a company I never signed a contract. Ileft after I felt there I was spoke to poorly and bullied at times. I phoned them and told them I was quitting. They are now refusing to pay the 3 weeks wages I worked. Could you tell me where I stand and have a right to receive the money I worked for? Thank you.
Barry - 7-Apr-18 @ 4:15 PM
Hi I m working for my employer 2 month in they give me offer latter but not contract . I am keep requesting for contact but they give me excuses. I spoke with the company owner, operation manager in short all people but they are delaying to give me a contract what I can do?
Nick - 7-Apr-18 @ 2:44 AM
DunkinHell - Your Question:
I’ve been at Dunkin’ Donuts for technically 3 months.i say technically because about a month ago they stopped giving me hours, but never called me to terminate me and also still called me to come in and cover a shift.so I assume I’m still technically employed.I've heard from a former employee(shift manager)that they do that so people will call in and quite so they can’t get unemployment. I was also accused by the manager of stealing from the register because I went to the bathroom and she never even brought it to my attention. We never signed a contract telling us any of the information you listed about, and never had the law mandated breaks. My first week or so I worked a 15hr shift without a break. There’s more but I dot. Want you reading forever. I’d just like to know if I’d have a case.

Our Response:
An employee with under two years' service can't claim standard unfair dismissal. If you are on a probationary period (usually three months) or a zero hours contract your employer is under no obligation to give you permanent work.
ContractsAndAgreements - 5-Apr-18 @ 11:19 AM
I’ve been at Dunkin’ Donuts for technically 3 months.i say technically because about a month ago they stopped giving me hours, but never called me to terminate me and also still called me to come in and cover a shift.so I assume I’m still technically employed.I've heard from a former employee(shift manager)that they do that so people will call in and quite so they can’t get unemployment. I was also accused by the manager of stealing from the register because I went to the bathroom and she never even brought it to my attention. We never signed a contract telling us any of the information you listed about, and never had the law mandated breaks. My first week or so I worked a 15hr shift without a break. There’s more but I dot. Want you reading forever. I’d just like to know if I’d have a case.
DunkinHell - 4-Apr-18 @ 4:30 PM
Arbgr - Your Question:
I'm working construction for the same company person more than thrre year's. The problem is he change every year company name in the middle or in the end of tax year. He never give us a write contract holiday and some guy's he pay them cash. When I was sick for those days he never paid me. I had a conversation with him about that he not agree told me in construction site no one take holiday. I want some help bc I think he hide something and our money going in his pocket. Thank you.

Our Response:
If you think your employer is not paying tax on your behalf and should be, you can report your employer via the link here. You can see what your basic rights are as an employee via the link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 3-Apr-18 @ 1:54 PM
Yozza1 - Your Question:
Hi I have worked for my employer for 20 yrs never had a written contract phones me 3 hrs before shift to say they are closing and I am losing the pay I work in a social club I also receive no holiday pay I work standard hrs every week were do I stand with this please

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether your employer is closing because it has to, i.e it is going into administration (which may explain why you are not being paid). If so, please see link here. You may think you don't have an employment contract, but by the very fact you have worked there for 20 years means you do. Therefore, if your employer is closing on a whim and is not insolvent, then you should give Acas a call as you will have rights to claim. However, whether you are entitled to anything also depends upon whether you pay tax in this position. If your employer has not paid tax on your behalf, or you have been working cash-in-hand, then you have no rights, as you have not been working within the legal framework. You don't say also whether or not you are self-employed, which will also make a difference. If you are registered as self-employed, you would not be entitled to claim redundancy. Only if you are employed PAYE and your employer pays tax on your behalf would you be able to claim redundnacy pay.
ContractsAndAgreements - 3-Apr-18 @ 1:47 PM
I'mworking construction for the same company person more than thrre year's. The problem is he change every year company name in the middle or in the end of tax year. He never give us a write contract holiday and some guy's he pay them cash. When I was sick for those days he never paid me. I had a conversation with him about that he not agree told me in construction site no one take holiday. I want some help bc I think he hide something and ourmoney going in his pocket.Thank you.
Arbgr - 2-Apr-18 @ 5:50 PM
Hi I have worked for my employer for 20 yrs never had a written contract phones me 3 hrs before shift to say they are closing and I am losing the pay I work in a social club I also receive no holiday pay I work standard hrs every week were do I stand with this please
Yozza1 - 2-Apr-18 @ 5:04 PM
Ive been employed for 7 years as a barber. Never had a contract of employment. When i first started i worked 3 days a week They told me i got 4 weeks holiday a year so gave me only 12 days per year. I didnt work mondays or fridays so other than xmas/new year falling on working days i didnt benefit from additional bank holidays like other staff did. This lasted for 3 years. I raised the fact it was unfair during these times and was told it was what they did. I went up to 4 days which then included fridays. We open good friday and he shuts mon tue after easter. As i had these days off i didnt benefit like those that were paid for mon tue but worked friday like me. I was allowed 16 days holiday. After a year or so of trying to prove i should have 5.6 weeks pro rata i managed to get my boss to confirm i was correct with his accountant and was given 22.5 days from then on. But never anything to return the days id lost for 4+ years. I am now having to use holiday days as my mother was dying of lung cancer. As im only paid minimum wage and cant afford time off with no pay. There is no compassionate leave. As ive said we have no contract or handbook. Ive now lost my mum and cant have any time off other than her funeral day as ive already used 13 of my 22.5 days holiday going to appointments and nursing her the last few days she was alive. None of this seems very fair to me. Can you advise on these matters please
Bulldog - 30-Mar-18 @ 1:08 PM
Vicky - Your Question:
I've been working for my employer for the last 18 months. I've never signed a written contract with him or had a employee's handbook to learn about the employment rules with him. I'm planning on leaving the company soon but I'm not sure if I need to give notice or get payed for my holiday entitlement as I'm going to lose 8 days of holiday. Like I said, all I know is that I'm entitled to 28 days of holiday as I've been working 5 days a week, sometimes even 6 days and work 50+ hours every week.

Our Response:
You would have to discuss this directly with your employer (as it's always good to leave on amicable terms). If you have never taken holiday, you would be entitled to claim your holiday entitlement, despite not having a written contract. Regardless of you not having a written contract, you do have a contract by the nature of working with your employer for the past 18-months, so you do have rights. If you have any problems, then make sure you give Acas a call.
ContractsAndAgreements - 27-Mar-18 @ 2:54 PM
I've been working for my employer for the last 18 months. I've never signed a written contract with him or had a employee's handbook to learn about the employment rules with him. I'm planning on leaving the company soon but I'm not sure if I need to give notice or get payedfor my holiday entitlement as I'm going to lose 8 days of holiday. Like I said, all I know is that I'm entitled to 28 days of holiday as I've been working 5 days a week, sometimes even 6 days and work 50+ hours every week.
Vicky - 27-Mar-18 @ 2:29 PM
Franch- Your Question:
Hello, I have been working for my employer for six months now and still do not have a written contract. Is this legal? If not, am I or my employer at fault? Throughout the months I’ve been employed with her I have not taken or received any payed leave. There just never seemed a time it was necessary. Or that she was approachable enough to even ask. She can be very “stand off-ish”. As the financial year is coming to an end I questioned her about my rights to either take the payed leave (which amounts to about 91 hours) or have the excess reimbursed as holiday pay with my pay at the end of the financial year! She has said that she will not pay as its my own fault that I did not take the holiday before now. Is this legal? It is an independent business and she chooses to close the shop completely at certain times of the year for roughly a week at a time-a period in which none of the employees are payed! Is this legal?She also pays some staff members (including her own daughter) cash in hand!Thank you in advance for any help/advice given.

Our Response:
Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave), please see link here. 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. You would have to ring Acas to see whether your employer owes you annual leave if and where annual leave has not been taken. If you’re a worker and you’ve tried solving a problem or concern informally by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see link here , as you are entitled to holiday leave and you are entitled to a contract. You might also wish to find out what type of contract you are on, whether it is a permanent one or zero hours etc. Regardless whether you have had a written statement or not, you will be on a contract as you are 'employed'. You haven't mentioned whether you are on a probationary period and whether this has passed. You can find out more about probationary periods via the Jobsite link here .
ContractsAndAgreements - 20-Mar-18 @ 9:24 AM
Hello, I have been working for my employer for six months now and still do not have a written contract. Is this legal? If not, am I or my employer at fault? Throughout the months I’ve been employed with her I have not taken or received any payed leave. There just never seemed a time it was necessary. Or that she was approachable enough to even ask. She can be very “stand off-ish”. As the financial year is coming to an end I questioned her about my rights to either take the payed leave (which amounts to about 91 hours) or have the excess reimbursed as holiday pay with my pay at the end of the financial year! She has said that she will not pay as its my own fault that I did not take the holiday before now. Is this legal? It is an independent business and she chooses to close the shop completely at certain times of the year for roughly a week at a time-a period in which none of the employees are payed! Is this legal? She also pays some staff members (including her own daughter) cash in hand! Thank you in advance for any help/advice given.
Franch - 19-Mar-18 @ 3:54 PM
Blondie - Your Question:
I have been working for a company for 9 months now. And I have asked for a contract numerous times to no avail. Anyway in January I discovered I was pregnant and informed them of this with no problems atall. A week later myself and 3 other drivers ( there was only 4 of us) (I'm a class 1 hgv driver) were told that artics were no longer required and we were being made redundant on 26th Feb ( verbally not in writting)Anyway on 26th Feb myself (I'm salary paid on paye) and a self employed driver was told they still had work for 2 artics so we can stay on. Yesterday I was told there was no work for today so to stay home. Then today a text message saying that's it now if we ever need you again we will be in touch!!! I only needed to work till tomorrow to be entitled to maternity pay I asked about any class 2 jobs going as I need my job and they text back saying there is nothing yet they are advertising online for class 2 drivers. I can't help but think their timing is not a coincidence and they have other jobs I can do. Nobody is going to employ me a 6 months pregnant. I have been told to take them to a tribunal but am unsure if I have a case. Can anyone help me?

Our Response:
You can seemore via the MA link here , for more information regarding whether you think you have a case. All employees, casual workers, agency workers, freelancers and self-employed women are protected by sex discrimination law from day one of their employment. You would have to prove that if it was not for your pregnancy, you would not have been dismissed.
ContractsAndAgreements - 16-Mar-18 @ 1:59 PM
Need some help just took a full time job 40 hour contract 160 hours a month as my employer says, problem is I am getting work but not enough each week and am struggling to make up my hours each week they are leaving me days in the house and given work to a person on a 0 hour contract. If I don't manage to get my 160 hours per month can they do that this month alone I am down 20 hours and if continues IL have to try make up 30 odd hours in last week of month which would be a 70 hour week.
Watty - 16-Mar-18 @ 7:32 AM
I have been working for a company for 9 months now. And I have asked for a contract numerous times to no avail. Anyway in January I discovered I was pregnant and informed them of this with no problems atall. A week later myself and 3 other drivers ( there was only 4 of us) (I'm a class 1 hgv driver) were told that artics were no longer required and we were being made redundant on 26th Feb ( verbally not in writting) Anyway on 26th Feb myself (I'm salary paid on paye) and a self employed driver was told they still had work for 2 artics so we can stay on. Yesterday I was told there was no work for today so to stay home. Then today a text message saying that's it now if we ever need you again we will be in touch!!! I only needed to work till tomorrow to be entitled to maternity pay I asked about any class 2 jobs going as I need my job and they text back saying there is nothing yet they are advertising online for class 2 drivers.I can't help but think their timing is not a coincidence and they have other jobs I can do. Nobody is going to employ me a 6 months pregnant.I have been told to take them to a tribunal but am unsure if i have a case. Can anyone help me?
Blondie - 15-Mar-18 @ 7:54 PM
Ok so been working for my company for over a year on a 20hr written contract but 40hr plus verbal contract with my old boss basically when I started I had 2 jobs left one to become full time at current boss guaranteed me full time hour if I left my other post but couldn’t give me a new contract at the moment as I had just change from a 0 hr contract a week or 2 before now my boss has left and there is a new boss in place can they reduce me to 20 hrs now that my other boss has left
Chib - 13-Mar-18 @ 11:43 AM
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