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If you are an employee you have a right to a written statement of particulars of employment setting out basic terms, such as pay, hours of work, holiday entitlement, notice entitlement and others.
Even if you are not given a written statement, if you work for someone and they pay you, a contract will be inferred based on conduct e.g. how much you are paid, how long you usually work etc. If your employer does not comply with the contract, you can bring a claim for breach of contract in the County Court, High Court or in the Employment Tribunal.
Most terms in a contract are “express” terms which means they are agreed between you and your employer, either verbally or in writing. However, some terms are “implied” into the contract even if they have never been agreed between you. Basic statutory rights such as 28 days paid holiday or the right to equal pay are implied into every contract of employment.
Some terms are fundamental to the employer/employee relationship. One of the most important is the implied term of mutual trust and confidence. This is an obligation placed upon the employer to act reasonably and fairly towards his employees. There is a wealth of case law about mutual trust and confidence, but examples of employer’s breaches include verbal abuse of an employee, undermining an employee in front of his subordinates, unreasonable accusations of theft and failing to support an employee.
The employee is also subject to certain implied terms. An employee must carry out the work he is contracted to do, and cannot delegate that work to others. He must take reasonable care when performing his duties and he must carry out the employers reasonable lawful instructions.
You are legally entitled to a written statement of particulars of employment, but it is also important so that both you and your employer clearly understand the obligations placed on each of you. If you have been dismissed and make a claim to the Employment Tribunal, the Tribunal can award 2 – 4 weeks pay (capped at £350 per week) for the failure to provide a written statement.
For more information about contracts of employment please contact Marina Vincent on 020 8422 5678.
Contact Harold Benjamin employment lawyers team for employment law in London and Nationally.