EMPLOYMENT law experts at a citizens’ advice bureau are urging employees to make sure they have a written contract of employment after concerns were raised.
The call from officials at the Hartlepool Citizens’ Advice Bureau, in Park Road, comes after an internal survey they conducted showed that four out of every 10 employees they advise had not been issued with a written contract of employment.
All employees, regardless of the number of hours they work, are entitled to receive from their employer, a written statement of their main terms and conditions of employment – effectively a written contract – within two months of starting work.
The written contract must include information such as the date when the employment began, what the salary is, hours of work, sick pay entitlement, any pension entitlement, job title and place of work and details of the disciplinary procedure.
Joe Michna, bureau manager and employment law adviser, said: “The Hartlepool Citizens Advice Bureau has a long established reputation for giving expert Employment Law Advice and this advice is in great demand from employees and workers.
“When advising employees on their rights, one of the very first questions we ask is whether they have been issued with a written contract of employment by their employer or their former employer if their employment has come to an end.
“A recent internal survey that we conducted showed that four of every 10 employees we advised said that they had never been issued with a written contract of employment by their employer.
“Most of those employees who had not been given a written contract were employed, or had been employed, by what would be defined as ‘small to medium’ sized employers. These are employers who may employ between 2 and 30 employees.
“However, it does not matter how many employees the employer has or how many hours a week they are employed, they are still entitled to receive a written statement showing their main terms and conditions of employment. This is a statutory right”.
Mr Michna said any employee who is having problems getting a written contract could contact the CAB for advice and guidance.
He added: “Importantly, all employees have protection if they are dismissed for requesting a written statement.
“If an employee is dismissed for this reason and this reason only, that will be an automatically unfair dismissal.
“To assist employers in meeting their legal requirements to provide a written statement of terms and conditions to their employees, there is a an easy to use template/example that can be used and this can be found at www.gov.uk/employment-contracts-and-conditions/overview.”
An employee should be automatically given a written statement of their main terms and conditions of employment. If an employer has failed to provide a written statement to an employee, the employee can apply to an Employment Tribunal to determine the particulars which should be included in the statement.
Mr Michna said an employee who is dismissed for asking for, or even asking about the possibility of receiving, a written statement, may claim automatically unfair dismissal irrespective of how long they have worked for the employer.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01429) 408401.