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

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 18 Oct 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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I will be starting to work in a barbershop (self employed) for the first time. Is that alright that I will not have any contract ? How do I know that all the discussed terms will be respected? Because based on what I read on HMRC site, I am somewhere in between self employed and employee, as I do have a schedule to respect, I do have managers, and so on. How is this working exactly? so confused.. thank you.
Zeyna - 18-Oct-18 @ 3:06 PM
I have worked behind the bar for over a year now with no written contract. Yesterday, they advertised for a job behind the bar because someone just left. When I confronted the boss he said I wasn't proper bar staff and I would have to apply for it. I have never been given a payslip just cash in hand and don't have holiday or sick pay. What can I do?
JD - 6-Oct-18 @ 10:05 PM
I have worked for a company for 6 years as a Reflexologist without a contract. This company has dismissed me, the next day, without a disciplinary for looking at a resident's care plan. Note that I used to update the resident's care plans in that company before and I update this section in their sister care home under the same umbrella. Do I have any rights? Even though there's no written contract?
Donna - 29-Sep-18 @ 5:03 PM
Can an employer make deductions from wages with no proof or copy or a signed contract from myself?
Mikewesoski - 28-Sep-18 @ 2:47 AM
I have worked for a company now for almost 12 years. The company is moving to another town and they have decided we all have to move and that they will not be paying redundancy due to a 10miles mobility clause. I can’t move because it will take me almost 6hrs to get to the new place. Also I have two autistic children I look after. I asked my company for my contract and they said I do not have one on file but gave me a master contract which states that I can be asked to work in any office but no mention of any clause. Do I have a case or how can I fight this?
Sarah - 27-Sep-18 @ 7:27 PM
My daughter worked for 18 months in a shop, never got a written contract or payslip. Her employer made her cry on a few occasions and I confronted him about it, he sacked her immediately, she now needs a p45,what can we do and can he sack her?
KP - 26-Sep-18 @ 2:59 PM
G - Your Question:
I've worked for my employer for the past 5 years I've never had a contract or been paid holiday or sick pay is this legal?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you are considered employed or self-employed. Please see the link here which will explain all you need to know.
ContractsAndAgreements - 18-Sep-18 @ 2:48 PM
I've worked for my employer for the past 5 years I've never had a contract or been paid holiday or sick pay is this legal?
G - 18-Sep-18 @ 1:21 AM
My son worked for a chap got 30 pounds a day sometimes working 15 hours not getting a proper lunch or any break's he's owed 70 pounds from almost 4 weeks ago he's got the sack as he's had allot of hospital appointments how can he go about getting the money owed and can rye employer pay such low wage for such long days, he's 19
Nuke - 13-Sep-18 @ 12:28 PM
Wellsy - Your Question:
I started working for a business 10 years ago as a receptionist. I never got a contract. The owner of that business also has another business in the same premises with a different name. Over the following 12 months I was gradually given other tasks to do for the business that didnt employ me (still not got a contract) and I now only cover the reception for a few hours a week.A large client has been lost and I have been selected for redundancy based on the work I do for the business that didnt employ me in the first place. What are my rights?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, although you don't have a written contract as such, by the very fact you have worked for your employer for a period of time, you do have a contract. This means your employer has to follow a fair redundancy process if you’ll have worked for them for at least two years by the time your job ends, please see the link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 7-Sep-18 @ 12:13 PM
Hi, I’ve been working with a company for over a year without a contact. Recently I was injured away from work resulting in me being signed off work for 5 weeks. Am I entitled to sick pay?
Jess - 7-Sep-18 @ 12:01 PM
Ish - Your Question:
Hi, I've been working for a warehouse company for 3 1/2 months.Recently several of my colleagues have been fired for a multitude of nonsenseical reasons. ( if need I can elaborate )I haven't had a contract only "verbal" obligation have been stipulated. I have passed my probation ( again only verbal ) and I have asked several times about a contract, and was told It is in the post, since then I have written an email asking for said contract only to be met with a reply , stating the same that it is in the post and will be with me within 2 week, that was two weeks ago. What should

Our Response:
An employer must provide a written statement within two months of the start of any employment, please see the link here. Your only recourse would be to put your request in writing to HR, or a higher line manager.
ContractsAndAgreements - 7-Sep-18 @ 10:04 AM
Hi, I've been working for a warehouse company for 3 1/2 months. Recently several of my colleagues have been fired for a multitude of nonsenseical reasons. ( if need I can elaborate ) I haven't had a contract only "verbal" obligation have been stipulated. I have passed my probation ( again only verbal ) and I have asked several times about a contract, and was told It is in the post, since then I have written an email asking for said contract only to be met with a reply , stating the same that it is in the post and will be with me within 2 week, that was two weeks ago. What should
Ish - 6-Sep-18 @ 4:06 AM
I started working for a business 10 years ago as a receptionist. I never got a contract.The owner of that business also has another business in the same premises with a different name. Over the following 12 months I was gradually given other tasks to do for the business that didnt employ me (still not got a contract) and i now only cover the reception for a few hours a week. A large client has been lost and I have been selected for redundancy based on the work I do for the business that didnt employ me in the first place. What are my rights?
Wellsy - 5-Sep-18 @ 10:19 AM
Sci - Your Question:
Hi my partner has been working for dog grooming company for just under 6 months now she only works one day a week and there has been no contract just a verbal agreement that she works a friday now they keep swapping her day without propper notice what rights has she got and thinks they are trying to get rid of her any advise please

Our Response:
Unfortunately, there is little your partner can do as she may still be considered in her probationary period - please see the link here . Much also depends upon whether she is on a zero-hour contract or a full-time permanent contract. Your partner would have to speak to her employer, as she should by now have been given at least a written statement which outlines her terms of work. Please see the link here .
ContractsAndAgreements - 4-Sep-18 @ 1:54 PM
Hello, i’m working for a food and manufacture company since last year 2017, I asked them for a employment description letter for home office, in first place they refused to give to me and harrassed me after one month they gave me a letter with description of job as causal worker, before I had numerous of job letters from them with full time permanent position, so I’m just wondering if they can change the contract without consulting me?!! ( they never gave us a contract of employment even I asked them several times but just gave me job letters with description of job,position and salary). I sent them a letter asking them to give me my original contract as it seems there’s something wrong, they never replied to the letter. What should I do next!! Could you kindly advice me please!
Sunny - 4-Sep-18 @ 12:48 PM
My partner had been working as a chef. He decided to quit as he was just sitting around not doing much most of the time its a small restaurant so wasnt much to do. The whole 2 weeks the manger never came to see him while he was there or made any contact to find out how he was getting on. Never given a contract never handed over his details to contact him or asked for bank details for pay. When he quit he emailed later on to explain his reasons to why he wasnt returning and also added his account details. The manager never responded. Now the end of month came and he was never paid. Have emailed him twice since no response he also went to the resturant he wasnt there (he will keep going there till he sees him). What would the next step be?
Monique - 4-Sep-18 @ 8:11 AM
ecalid - Your Question:
I have been with my employer for over 4 years. It is a family run business. I have a contract with them and it is my main function at the company. In the past year they have given me 2 extra roles as a "trial", on a rota basis with another employee. I have asked on 3 occasions now that I would like an amended contract or a written statement. I have contacted HR and they contacted my boss. My boss is now furious and has threatened to ostracize me and removing these roles. Do they still have to follow disciplinary or grievance procedure to take these roles away?

Our Response:
The CAB link here, should help you deal with your problem further. A tribunal is the last resort if you feel you have been treated unfairly. By what you have said, it could be viewed to be that way if your employer removes you from the role.
ContractsAndAgreements - 3-Sep-18 @ 3:04 PM
Honi - Your Question:
I have been working for a famiy business for 5 years & now find myself being made redundant.I have a verbal 16hrs. Have never had a written contract or statement with my working hours or holiday entitlement or job description (im a cleaner!)My employer has avaraged out my actual worked hours over last 12 weeks (10.11hrs). Im being made redundant due to lack of hours through change of business values. (local golf club)She is now saying that my holiday pay & dedundancy pay will be based on 10 hrs per week.not on the verbally contracted hours of 16 - I do have a letter from her to the HMRC stating that I am working 16hrs per week. help please x

Our Response:
If you have no contract, but you have been working for your employer over set times for the past five years, then this could be termed as an 'implied' contract. Please see the link here . In this case, you may wish to speak to Acas to see whether you are within your rights to to take the matter further.
ContractsAndAgreements - 3-Sep-18 @ 12:47 PM
I have been working for a famiy business for 5 years & now find myself being made redundant. I have a verbal 16hrs. Have never had a written contract or statement with my working hours or holiday entitlement or job description (im a cleaner!) My employer has avaraged out my actual worked hours over last 12 weeks (10.11hrs). Im being made redundant due to lack of hours through change of business values.. (local golf club) She is now saying that my holiday pay & dedundancy pay will be based on 10 hrs per week....not on the verbally contracted hours of 16 - i do have a letter from her to the HMRC stating that i am working 16hrs per week...... help please x
Honi - 1-Sep-18 @ 12:03 AM
I have been with my employer for over 4 years. It is a family run business. I have a contract with them and it is my main function at the company. In the past year they have given me 2 extra roles as a "trial", on a rota basis with another employee. I have asked on 3 occasions now that I would like an amended contract or a written statement. I have contacted HR and they contacted my boss. My boss is now furious and has threatened to ostracize me and removing these roles. Do they still have to follow disciplinary or grievance procedure to take these roles away?
ecalid - 31-Aug-18 @ 7:32 PM
Hi my partner has been working for dog grooming company for just under 6 months now she only works one day a week and there has been no contract just a verbal agreement that she works a friday now they keep swapping her day without propper notice what rights has she got and thinks they are trying to get rid of her any advise please
Sci - 29-Aug-18 @ 5:26 PM
Louis - Your Question:
Hey there, my girlfriend was working for a big hotel chain for almost two weeks, today she was called in on her day off and was fired for no apparent reason other than “it wasn’t working out” and she didn’t sign any contracts or agreements notifying her that she could be terminated without cause. She didn’t really sign any paperwork but she did work there for the two weeks she was “employed”. Can I seek legal action against the hotel for wrongful termination?

Our Response:
Your girlfriend would still be deemed to be in her probationary period, please see the link here , which will answer your question.
ContractsAndAgreements - 17-Aug-18 @ 3:23 PM
Lil hem - Your Question:
I been working for 6 years doing 5 days a week with no contract. I have also been bullied by my boss too. He has threatened to sack me if I don't do what he says too or leave before my standard hours. Any help?

Our Response:
Even if you do not have a written contract of employment, you do by the very nature of working for your employer. Much depends upon whether you work permanent set hours or are self-employed. If you work set hours and have done for six years and your employer pays tax and national insurance for you via HMRC then you have a permanent contract, in which case if your employer attempts to dismiss you, then you may be able to claim unfair dismissal. Please see the link here. You may also wish to give Acas a call in order to explore your rights and options.
ContractsAndAgreements - 14-Aug-18 @ 2:20 PM
I have been working for a company over a year and been sent for a polygraph recently came back failed they say the trust is broken can they put me in a lower position and drop my salary with no commission. Please advise
Slims - 14-Aug-18 @ 10:14 AM
I been working for 6 years doing 5 days a week with no contract. I have also been bullied by my boss too. He has threatened to sack me if I don't do what he says too or leave before my standard hours. Any help?
Lil hem - 13-Aug-18 @ 10:21 PM
Claz - Your Question:
I've worked for my employer for 16 months with no site of a contract - I now wish to leave and they know this so are trying to make me sign a contract. Can I resign and not agree to the terms and provide only 1 weeks notice? Or am I bound to their contract even though they've never made an attempt to provide a contract until now.

Our Response:
If there has been no contract in place, you are not obliged to give a month's notice, you can negotiate with your employer directly.
ContractsAndAgreements - 13-Aug-18 @ 3:28 PM
B - Your Question:
I have just started working for a new company and it has been less than a month.Unfortunately the CEO has been inappropriate in the work placement in the way that I am being spoken to and has said that they do not think they will keep me.Being out of work is unfortunately not an option for me and I was wondering if I would still be paid for my hours worked if either I, or the employer chose to end the job.I do not have a contract in place and was hoping that someone could offer some advice?Thank you in advance.

Our Response:
You would be paid for the hours you have worked to the termination of your employment. If you have recently started your employment, you would likely to be considered as on your probationary period, please see the link here . You are entitled to request a written statement of employment, please see the link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 13-Aug-18 @ 3:23 PM
Nor 2 - Your Question:
I have worked for a catering company for over 10 years working 16/18 hours a week I have never had holiday pay am I entitled to it I did leave for 8 months then went back still nothing can I backdate it I feel a fool and unappreciated

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you are self-employed or employed by the company. You may wish to give your contract a read and ring Acas if you are still unsure.
ContractsAndAgreements - 13-Aug-18 @ 11:23 AM
Harleydavidson1212 - Your Question:
My girl friend has work for a cafe in her local town for 3+ years without a written contract. She is pregnant and is wondering if her employer is legally obliged to pay her maternity leave? She has payslips to prove that she has worked there for a number of years

Our Response:
Yes, your girlfriend's employer will be obliged to pay your girlfriend maternity leave. Please see the link here for more information.
ContractsAndAgreements - 13-Aug-18 @ 10:14 AM
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