How do you Write a Contract of Employment?

By Matthew Reymes Cole
14 Nov 2018

It's your legal obligation as an employer to provide each employee with a written contract.

You must provide a contract to full-time and part-time employees within two months of the date their employment begins.

Contracts are important. As Acas states, "Simple misunderstandings over what is or what is not in a contract are one of the main causes of employment tribunal claims.”

How to write an employment contract

So, now you have a commitment to getting your new employment contract right, where do you start? Writing a contract of employment can be a daunting task, but we can break it down into sections.

There are certain contract of employment terms and conditions that are present in every contract. These are:

  1. Basic job information.

Key information relating to the role. For example: job title, department, department head, etc.

  1. Pay & benefits.

What is the employee's pay and benefits package? Include: annual salary, raises, bonuses, incentives, and any additional benefits.

  1. Holiday.

How many days is the employee entitled to? Include information on: sick leave, family emergencies, unpaid leave, flexible hours (if applicable)

  1. Employment type.

What is the employee’s employment status? Define whether they are: an employee, a worker, a contractor, self-employed

  1. Employment period.

Are they permanently employed, or for a set period? Include: amount of hours expected to work, working from home, working outside the office, working weekends/nights

  1. Privacy policy.

If your workplace uses email (who doesn’t?) then it needs a privacy policy. Outline: dos and don’ts of social media and email usage in the office

  1. Termination.

Finally, what do you (as an employer), and they (as an employee) have to do to terminate employment? Include: how much notice do you require, do you require written notice?

You should also consider any gaps you might have left when writing up an employment contract. Some terms you may leave out as they are ‘too obvious’, or so integral to the role that you may not even have thought to include them.

An example of this is an employee having a driving license if they are a driver.

You also need to consider the specifics of the role. If there are significant health & safety risks involved, such as operating machinery, then you need to state your commitment to health & safety in the workplace, and outline the measure you have in place to combat accidents. 

Contract of employment template for UK employers

You can take a look at our employment contract template free download, available via the Croner website. This offers you the basics in capability and disciplinary procedures.

Additionally, there’s informational about whistleblower policies. As well as other information about general policies and procedures your business has.

Here is a basic employment contract template, showing what to include and how to order it:

  • Names (employee, employer, department head, etc.).
  • Employment start date.
  • Job title and description.
  • Workplace details.
  • Working hours (maximums of 48 hours per week, overtime, etc.).
  • Probationary period.
  • Salary deductions.
  • Employee expenses (travel, business, etc.).
  • Holiday entitlement.
  • Sickness absence (sick pay entitlement, policy for sickness absence, etc.).
  • Termination (Notice needed, notice period, etc.).
  • Grievance & disciplinary.
  • Retirement (procedure for voluntary retirement).
  • Severability clause (each clause is independent, if one does not apply, others still apply).
  • Prior agreements (statement that all prior agreements are invalid upon signing contract).
  • Jurisdiction (Which law applies? English, Welsh, Scottish, etc.).

Expert Support

For employment contract advice, or any other HR & Employment issue, speak to a Croner expert on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Matthew Reymes-Cole

Matt joined Croner in 2007 as an employment law consultant and has advised clients of all sizes on all aspects of employment law. He has worked within management positions since 2017 and currently oversees a team within the litigation department, whilst continuing to support a number of clients directly.

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