Be clear what you are agreeing to
If you are an employee you have an employee contract with your employer. You provide your services and your employer provides you with work and pay. There will be an employment contract even if your employer hasn’t put it in writing.
Legal right to a written statement
If you have been employed for more than a month you have a right to a written statement about the basic terms of your employee contract. These include such things as your start date, holiday entitlement and pay details. There must also be a written disciplinary and grievance procedure. That procedure must take account of the ACAS code on disciplinary and grievance issues.
As an employee in England you have two sets of rights. These are contractual rights agreed with your employer. You also have specific legal rights. If those legal rights conflict if the contract the legal rights will apply and modify the contract.
Read your employee contract
When you get a job offer it is hard to question what is in the draft contract. However it is worth taking time to read it. You may also want to get some advice if you aren’t happy about a term or don’t understand it. We are happy to help with this. For example an employee contract may include terms limiting what you can do when you leave your job. There could be a restriction on a salesman to stop him from working for a rival for 6 months after he leaves. Is this fair and would it affect what you may want to do in future? If you bring clients with you to a business can you take them with you when you go? So maybe it is worth taking advice right from the beginning.
And when it comes time to leave you might want to know what notice you have to give or holiday you have due. Do you have any right tell your customers you are going, or could you compromise that new job because of the terms in you have in the contract with your old employer?
Many business owners don’t think they have employees, they claim that everyone who does work for them is self-employed. That is rarely the case; as Uber, for example, found out. Knowing your status is hugely important as it affects your rights and which rules apply to you. Your holiday pay, minimum wage, maternity rights, protection from unfair dismissal and more all depend on your status. It’s therefore vitally important to know whether you are an employee, worker or self-employed? We can help you identify yourstatus and advise you about the options.
Kirsten Moon – Employment Law Solicitor – Partner