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 Oct 2019 |
 
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]
Hi , I worked for 3 years for previous company( I am sacked now) . They have not given any contact or I have signed any documents . The main reason for dismissal was that I opened a business on my name while working with them . I was not running the business but it was on my name . Can anyone suggest if they can do that as I was not aware I can’t. Thanks
Kumar - 18-Apr-19 @ 3:08 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
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
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 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
Nor 2 - 12-Aug-18 @ 12:46 AM
Hi, I have worked for a company for 11 years. They want to cut 1 day of my wages, can do my employer do that as i have always been worked 6 days a week for 11 years? Thanks, Curious
Curious - 30-May-18 @ 11:12 AM
hello i work 40 hours a week and recieve in total 28 days holiday.. Today our employer called us in and a)gave us a pay rise which is fair enough but b)also gave us an extra 5 days holiday.. We cant understand why hes being so generious with the extra 5 days holiday its not in his nature.. Were thinkimg a)theres been a holiday law change or b)hes been short changing us on our 28 day holiday entitlement over the years.. Any ideas for my employers generosits..
Mrfixit - 30-Apr-18 @ 11:30 AM
I have been working part time since 20/11/17. I have requested a written contact on numerous occasions as my employer has cancelled work once or twice and has said I won't get paid for them because I get paid per hour. It's frustrating because I was meant to work on those dates but it got cancelled. We had 2 weeks off for Xmas and I had no work or holiday pay. The problem is I haven't been paid yet at all since I started. I was told that it would be resolved by mid Jan and yet here I am still waiting for my wages and contact. I love my job but I don't know what to do now.
Larry - 14-Jan-18 @ 6:07 PM
I have done overtime at work my company is paying me those extra hours over months and not in one go at the end of the month or even the next month but over many months is this legal?
D - 12-Jan-18 @ 4:13 PM
I was working for an employer for 2 months and told at end of shift I was being paid off no notice because it "wasn't working" ..this is invalid and wrong as I was still learning but never given the opportunity .. I feel it's about religion and status ... can i sue if ive no evidence as it was all verbal
Tina - 12-Dec-17 @ 8:33 AM
B.Fernandez - Your Question:
Hi so I started working for a car dealership as a mechanic and worked almost 10 hours the first day, the next day before I left to work I had a very severe asthma attack that made me faint for an hour or so I called in a couple of hours later and my boss didn't seem to care. I went to the doctor who game me a note for work so I miss a total of two day. On the day I showed up to work I was told I wasn't employed any longer. Will I be getting paid for the time I worked? I dont think it was fair I got fired for being sick but I am not too sure on what the law on that is.

Our Response:
You should get paid for the hours you worked. You would have to take this up with your previous employer directly. Your employer was within its right to dismiss you if it did not think you were up to the job. You would have been started on a probationary period, which allows you or your employer time to see whether the job is the right one for you. This means either the employee can leave without notice, and likewise the employer can dismiss the employee without notice.
ContractsAndAgreements - 21-Nov-17 @ 12:10 PM
Hi so I started working for a car dealership as a mechanic and worked almost 10 hours the first day, the next day before I left to work I had a very severe asthma attack that made me faint for an hour or so I called in a couple of hours later and my boss didn't seem to care. I went to the doctor who game me a note for work so I miss a total of two day. On the day I showed up to work I was told I wasn't employed any longer. Will I be getting paid for the time I worked? I dont think it was fair I got fired for being sick but I am not too sure on what the law on that is.
B.Fernandez - 18-Nov-17 @ 3:35 AM
I would very much appreciate if somebody will answer to me. I work as a personal assistant for a disabled person,2 weeks on 2 weeks off live in basis. I get paid (payslip) every 4 weeks. I work minimum 12 hours/day/ 14 days. My question is: I am legally entitled to paid holiday after a year and if so, how many days? When I start the job we had only a verbal agreement. I looked for the information on the internet, but because of the particular terms of the arrangement, I could not really find an answer. Thank you
David - 2-Nov-17 @ 9:58 AM
Yabou - Your Question:
Hi, I need advice please I have been working for a month and 8 days night shifts my employer has refused to pay me ! I provided all documents before starting the job. When the payment was due he told me that my visa doesn’t allowed me to work in the uk ! I need advice please I don’t what to do they should have checked my documents carefully before given me the hard job for over a month

Our Response:
The main question is whether your visa allows you to work in the UK. If it doesn't, I'm afraid there is little you can do to pursue this as you are working illegally.
ContractsAndAgreements - 31-Oct-17 @ 10:51 AM
Hi, i need advice please i have been working for a month and 8 days night shifts my employer has refused to pay me ! I provided all documents before starting the job. When the payment was due he told me that my visa doesn’t allowed me to work in the uk ! I need advice please i don’t what to do they should have checked my documents carefully before given me the hard job for over a month
Yabou - 30-Oct-17 @ 4:22 PM
@SC - send a letter demanding payment by a certain date, and if your employer doesn't pay take them to the small claims court.
Kate - 24-Oct-17 @ 10:00 AM
Kez - Your Question:
Hi just wondered if you could help please, been working for someone since the end of March, they have emailed my contact but iv not signed it, thing is iv had enough I never get my commission ir tips properly not been payed for other days iv done. I’m meant to be on an hourly rate but I’m sure it’s salary. I want to just leave as I know if I give her a notice period she will take all my wages like she’s done to the other girls that have left and there trying to get back what there owes! Thank you for reading

Our Response:
There is little your employer can do, if you leave without giving notice. However, should you need a reference for a future position, it may make it more difficult than if you left after giving your full notice. I advise you to think the situation through before make any rash decisions. Also, please keep in mind you may not be awarded any benefits if you leave your job.
ContractsAndAgreements - 17-Oct-17 @ 12:05 PM
Hi just wondered if you could help please, been working for someone since the end of March, they have emailed my contact but iv not signed it, thing is iv had enough I never get my commission ir tips properly not been payed for other days iv done. I’m meant to be on an hourly rate but I’m sure it’s salary. I want to just leave as I know if I give her a notice period she will take all my wages like she’s done to the other girls that have left and there trying to get back what there owes! Thank you for reading
Kez - 16-Oct-17 @ 4:44 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
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?
Frakie - 17-Aug-17 @ 10:17 PM
Mayur Agarwal - Your Question:
I am working for a company. Right now I am on the trial period. They didn't provided me any documents and I have been told that I'll be paid in cash. Can I put this employment on my resume?

Our Response:
If your employer is not paying tax or National Insurance on your behalf then you are not employed legally, unless you are self-employed.
ContractsAndAgreements - 24-Jul-17 @ 3:36 PM
I am working for a company. Right now I am on the trial period. They didn't provided me any documents and I have been told that I'll be paid in cash. Can I put this employment on my resume?
Mayur Agarwal - 23-Jul-17 @ 9:00 AM
I just started working in a company. My employer didn't provided me any document & I am being paid in cash. Can I put my experience on my resume? I am from India.
Mayur Agarwal - 23-Jul-17 @ 8:27 AM
Rui - Your Question:
Been working for this small private company he's paying me cash in hand and refuses to pay my national insurance and also my holidays what can I do as he's breaking the law ?

Our Response:
Your only options are to speak to your employer directly. Or you can report a business or your employer to HMRC if they’re paying workers ‘cash in hand’ without paying Income Tax or National Insurance. Please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 20-Jul-17 @ 12:11 PM
Good morning, My wife (retired) books a swimming pool one evening per week, to teach children to swim. She has booked this school swimming pool for the past 20 years ... same evening and times. The Manager (reps the school) has just phoned her up to say that they are terminating the booking from December 31st 2017, so are giving her notice. The school will be employing teachers and lifeguards themselves to teach swimming starting 2018. Due to the length of time she has been booking the pool does she have any legal rights to stay or be given more notice? The other issue is that the school will obviously pick up all the children who my my wife currently teaches, because there are no other pools available for booking in the area. Thank you
Rufus - 19-Jul-17 @ 12:10 PM
Been working for this small private company he's paying me cash in hand and refuses to pay my national insurance and also my holidays what can I do as he's breaking the law ?
Rui - 19-Jul-17 @ 10:21 AM
Hi i am working as a housemaid and im staying for 5 months to my sponsor but until now my sponsor not make medical for me to fix my visa what should i do? I have already employment visa but still no stamp thats why until now i have no medical
Kakay - 19-Jul-17 @ 1:11 AM
Eddie - Your Question:
I was employed and worked 60 hours during my probation period,I left as the work was far to stressful!I have returned my uniform! Is my employer obliged to pay me for the hours I worked?

Our Response:
Yes, your employer is obliged to pay you for the work you have done unless agreed otherwise.
ContractsAndAgreements - 14-Jul-17 @ 2:13 PM
I was employed and worked 60 hours during my probation period,I left as the work was far to stressful! I have returned my uniform! Is my employer obliged to pay me for the hours I worked?
Eddie - 14-Jul-17 @ 12:29 AM
Good Day. I started working for a construction company as an admin assistant3 weeks back, but i have not signed any document regarding my employment and i am not sure if i am going to be paid or not. Now i want to apply forjob in another City: should i say i am currently employed, a freelance or i am not employed at all?
Ongie - 22-Jun-17 @ 2:21 PM
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