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

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 18 Nov 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 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
1611 - Your Question:
Hi; so I had a part time job in a fast food shop.The shop owner and staff were all family/close friends, there were only a few people who worked there; I had a trial day in which I was then given the job and started the next day. After working a week or so I felt like the job wasn't for me, also I had noticed a few things felt off i.e: There was no written contract, the employer had none of my details on record (i felt this was worrying for if an accident occurred) it was cash in hand, there had been no proper training or health and safety, not to mention I was given x hours to work but would get sent home early without a full days pay if it wasn't busy and on the opposite end I would have to walk overtime without pay often, there was also no holiday entitlement, you could take time off but got no pay for it. I to leave one night, I had told the supervisor who was in charge for the night as the owner was out (also a family friend) about how I felt and that I was leaving, I was told 'no problem'. I was then told by this person they would leave that weeks pay with a family member for me, however weeks later I had contacted and asked about this and have now been told about a '1 weeks notice' policy which was never explained to me when I first started work. Therefore I’ve come to the conclusion I’m not getting any money for those last days worked.I’m sure this is illegal and isn’t right but I don’t know where to go from here or what to do about it.

Our Response:
If you have any agreement, or proof that you worked in the shop, you may wish to write to your employer and say that if you are not given the money owed by a specific date, then you are going to take the matter to the small claims court, please see link here. You may find your employer may pay up if warned of possible legal action. If you have worked for the money, then you are owed the money. If you can prove to the small claims court you worked in the shop, then you should have a case to answer.
ContractsAndAgreements - 17-Nov-17 @ 11:23 AM
Hi; so i had a part time job in a fast food shop. The shop owner and staff were all family/close friends, there were only a few people who worked there; i had a trial day in which i was then given the job and started the next day. After working a week or so i felt like the job wasn't for me, also i had noticed a few things felt off i.e: There was no written contract, the employer had none of my details on record (i felt this was worrying for if an accident occurred) it was cash in hand, there had been no proper training or health and safety, not to mention i was given x hours to work but would get sent home early without a full days pay if it wasn't busy and on the opposite end I would have to walk overtime without pay often, there was also no holiday entitlement, you could take time off but got no pay for it. I to leave one night, i had told the supervisor who was in charge for the night as the owner was out (also a family friend) about how i felt and that i was leaving, i was told 'no problem'. I was then told by this person they would leave that weeks pay with a family member for me, however weeks later i had contacted and asked about this and have now been told about a '1 weeks notice' policy which was never explained to me when i first started work. Therefore I’ve come to the conclusion I’m not getting any money for those last days worked. I’m sure this is illegal and isn’t right but I don’t know where to go from here or what to do about it.
1611 - 16-Nov-17 @ 2:34 PM
Les2708 - Your Question:
Hi, I’ve worked for my employer for 10 years but have no written contract, can you advise of the notice period I would have to work if I chose to leave? Thanks!

Our Response:
You would have to discuss this with your employer directly.
ContractsAndAgreements - 14-Nov-17 @ 2:39 PM
Hi, I’ve worked for my employer for 10 years but have no written contract, can you advise of the notice period I would have to work if I chose to leave? Thanks!
Les2708 - 13-Nov-17 @ 10:08 PM
I have been employed for just over two months. The agreement was two days a week working from home when I accepted the job. I am yet to receive a contract after asking multiple times. At the end of the first month I hadn’t been paid, I chased this and was told I don’t work for them but a sister company that I’d never heard of. I was bank transferred the money with no payslip. I was given a new project for this new company at the start of October, they asked for fill project completion twice as fast from myself than it would take a team to complete. A week later I was told no more working from home as they hadn’t seen progress even though I’d let them know it was going well and had a lot to show. I asked to speak to the ceo to discuss, he advised someone else was my manager (who I hadn’t met). I spoke to my manager who shouted at me for trying to play him and the ceo against each other. I then received an email which started “do not reply this isn’t a discussion” saying I’d had six weeks and it had only been two! I had to reply and he replied “know it all’s don’t last long in this company”. This month I was given a cheque on the 6th for pay, still no payslip or contract, nothing official at all. My correspondence is now being ignored by them, all requests for hardware I need have been ignored and the ceo has said he no longer wants updates. I don’t know where I stand legally on any of this!
Ben - 11-Nov-17 @ 9:41 AM
Saz- Your Question:
Hi. I’ve been working 3 and a half months full time. I booked a day off 2 weeks ago and never got paid. I was informed because I haven’t signed a contract I’m not entitled to it, although I have asked and they kept putting it off. Would this be right or wrong?

Our Response:
Firstly, an employer must give employees a ‘written statement of employment particulars’ if their employment contract lasts at least a month or more, please see link here. This may be something you could point out to your employer. Also, annual leave begins to build up (‘accrue’) as soon as a worker starts their job, please see link here . It is highly likely you have accrued holiday leave, therefore your employer shouldn't refuse to pay you for this day. Your employer is in the wrong.
ContractsAndAgreements - 7-Nov-17 @ 11:17 AM
Hi. I’ve been working 3 and a half months full time. I booked a day off 2 weeks ago and never got paid. I was informed because I haven’t signed a contract I’m not entitled to it, although I have asked and they kept putting it off. Would this be right or wrong?
Saz - 6-Nov-17 @ 9:40 PM
I worked for an employer full-time permanent with a contract but left after 6 months. I returned to this employer at their request to cover a maternity leave. I had no contract. They then extended this further verbally to work part time as the other employee wanted to return part time initially. The idea was that this would be for a further 12 weeks initially, but to date the other employee has been unable to complete their portion of the week without illness only once. Now the company is making us redundant. Do my terms of employment revert to my initial contract?
Ann - 4-Nov-17 @ 11:02 AM
Hi I have worked for a company for 2 yrs 3 months.No contact was signed as there were errors and since I’ve regularly asked for one but never been given one.I resigned yesterday and gave 1 months notice, I was put on garden leave, today I was told I will only be given 1 weeks leave/pay as I’ve not signed a contract.Is this right?
V - 3-Nov-17 @ 1:06 PM
David- Your Question:
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

Our Response:
You would have to speak to your employer directly. You don't say whether you are self-employed or employed. If you are employed on a full-time basis, you would be legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave). An employer can include bank holidays as part of statutory annual leave, please see link here . You would need to speak with your employer regarding this issue and ask for a contract. By law, your employer must provide the written statement within two months of you starting the job, please see link here. If you are self-employed, then you would have to discuss with your employer directly when you wish to take holidays, which would generally be unpaid.
ContractsAndAgreements - 2-Nov-17 @ 3:56 PM
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
Missh - Your Question:
Hello I’ve been working part time for the last 4 months and have occasionally worked a week of full time. I leave next week and my employer has never supplied me with a contract and now they are also saying I am not entitled to holiday pay

Our Response:
You can calculate your holiday pay via the gov.uk link here. If your employer has paid tax and NI on your behalf and you are classed as PAYE, then your employer owes you holiday pay, if and where holiday pay has been accrued.
ContractsAndAgreements - 30-Oct-17 @ 2:34 PM
I dont have a contract with any of my staff, and shes been working at my stall for 2 months, I know I have to pay for her holiday paid, but she left without 7 days notice, could I deduct the 7 dyas notice from the holiday paid, and can I hold her responsibility of my financial loss for not showing up during the 7 days period, as I couldn't open the stall for business ? and all the food gone to waste :( Thanks in advance
SQ5 - 29-Oct-17 @ 7:38 PM
Hello I’ve been working part time for the last 4 months and have occasionally worked a week of full time. I leave next week and my employer has never supplied me with a contract and now they are also saying I am not entitled to holiday pay
Missh - 27-Oct-17 @ 9:38 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
Hi, I worked for a company for almost 2 years, moving position once while on the company however still working in the previous position as bank staff. I have left the company in march however I returned to do 4 days of work in august. No Contract was provided and now they refuse to pay me. What can I do? Thank you, SC
SC - 23-Oct-17 @ 3:54 PM
Sie - Your Question:
Been working for company for 10 weeks I have no contract and have been refused holiday requests multiple times.i have given a month's notice to take the 14th off so I can take my 17week old son to hospital for a hip X-ray but she says no as she can't get cover.im the only person working in the warehouse and at the interview she said nothing about it being impossible for me to book any time off. Where do I stand please

Our Response:
As you have been working at the company for a short space of time, unfortunately, you have little recourse to complain. This would have to be negotiated with your employer directly. Within two months of starting the job you have the right to a written statement of particulars that includes the main conditions of employment. You don't say whether you have a probationary period in work (most employees do), please see Jobsite link here, which will also give you more insight into what rights both you and your employer has.
ContractsAndAgreements - 20-Oct-17 @ 10:24 AM
My partner has no contract but has been doing her job 9 months she has given in her notice and her employer has text to say shifts are now covered she is not needed are the obliged to pay her the full notice period or allow her to work or have they in effect sacked under notice thanks
Waz82 - 20-Oct-17 @ 9:43 AM
Sam805 - Your Question:
I've been employed for 9 years without seeing or being given a contract. Things don't look great for the company and should it go down the route of redundancy would I still be entitled without an official contract or should I be seeking one out now before this happens?

Our Response:
While you don't think you have a contract, by the very fact you have been working at this company for nine years you have one. Perhaps, it's time to speak to your employer and ask if you could have a copy. Unless, you are considered self-employed, then you will have the same rights as any other employee and you will therefore be entitled to redundancy payment (should your company take this route).
ContractsAndAgreements - 19-Oct-17 @ 3:57 PM
Been working for company for 10 weeks I have no contract and have been refused holiday requests multiple times.i have given a month's notice to take the 14th off so I can take my 17week old son to hospital for a hip X-ray but she says no as she can't get cover.im the only person working in the warehouse and at the interview she said nothing about it being impossible for me to book any time off. Where do I stand please
Sie - 19-Oct-17 @ 2:02 PM
I've been employed for 9 years without seeing or being given a contract. Things don't look great for the company and should it go down the route of redundancy would I still be entitled without an official contract or should I be seeking one out now before this happens?
Sam805 - 18-Oct-17 @ 10:12 PM
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
Scott - Your Question:
I started working for a company 2 years ago and recently left due to money issues. Within the mean time they put me on courses I never signed a contract to to say I had to pay it back if I were to leave. They've recently stoped paying me the money they owe claiming I owe it to them for the courses they put me on. I didn't really want to do these courses but they put me in a situation where I had no choice but to do them. I knew I wasn't going to be there long as I was waiting for something else to come up. These courses benefited them more than me and now I've started at a new company I do not and will not be using the qualifications the sent me through. They have now not paid me saying I owe them X amount but there was no contract stating I had to pay it back. What do I do?

Our Response:
If it doesn't specify in your contract that you have to pay any training money back, or through any training contract you may have signed, you could ask your employer directly on what grounds they can ask you to return the money, please see gov.uk link here. If there has been no agreement made that says you have to pay back this money and your employer is deducting money without consent, then you may wish to give ACAS a call. ACAS can tell you whether you can take your employer to an employment tribunal to claim your money.
ContractsAndAgreements - 17-Oct-17 @ 10:27 AM
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
I started working for a company 2 years ago and recently left due to money issues. Within the mean time they put me on courses I never signed a contract to to say I had to pay it back if I were to leave. They've recently stoped paying me the money they owe claiming I owe it to them for the courses they put me on. I didn't really want to do these courses but they put me in a situation where I had no choice but to do them. I knew I wasn't going to be there long as I was waiting for something else to come up. These courses benefited them more than me and now I've started at a new company I do not and will not be using the qualifications the sent me through. They have now not paid me saying I owe them X amount but there was no contract stating I had to pay it back. What do I do?
Scott - 16-Oct-17 @ 8:50 AM
I started 2 weeks ago a new job in a family running business. In the first week was an initial agreement about my salary and hours of work.They went away one week and get back.The second week I don't have the training and induction I was expecting.They change their mind to have a new employee and fire me yesterday. They offered to pay me via payroll or to me do it an invoice. I don't want to do an invoice because of all the complications for 12 days of work. I did it before for a 3 months contract and was a nightmare to do it so and cancel it after. I want to know really its possible be paid via payroll for 12 days of work? What can I expect in that payment? And what can I do if they refuse to pay me if I don't have a signed contract? Thank you for your help.
Lira - 10-Oct-17 @ 11:06 AM
Nat - Your Question:
I've been working at the same shop for six months. I work an average of 16 hours per week now, but was on less to begin with so an average of 13 in total. I have no contract. My boss says I am not entitled to holiday pay. She also says I will need to work 30 hour weeks before Christmas and might only get 7 hours after Christmas. Where do I stand? I am always under pressure to work more hours, even though I'm at uni full time and just don't have enough hours to work as much as I'm asked.

Our Response:
Is your employer paying tax and National Insurance on your behalf? If so, then you may be on a zero hour contract, please see link here which explains your rights as an employee to both accept and reject hours. However, your employer also has the same rights. If your employer does not pay tax and NI on your behalf and you are not classed as self-employed, then you may be working illegally and have no rights. Therefore, you should ask your employer to supply you with a contract, which by law she has to do (as outlined in the article).
ContractsAndAgreements - 9-Oct-17 @ 2:08 PM
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