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Contracts of Employment

An employment contract sets out the terms on which an individual is contracted with a business as their employee. 

Employment contracts can vary from a very straightforward statement of key terms to a more complex contract prescribing the employee’s obligations both during and after employment.

No matter at what level an employee enters a business, all employees are entitled as a matter of law to have at least their key terms set out in a contract, and to receive this information within two months of commencing employment.

Key Terms

  • the name and contact details of the employer
  • the date that employment commences and whether any previous employment counts towards the employee’s period of continuous service
  • the employee’s job title and/or a brief description of the role, and whether the role is permanent
  • the employee’s reporting lines
  • the usual place and hours of work and whether the employee will be required to work elsewhere or outside the UK
  • the employee’s salary and details of how and when it will be paid
  • the employee’s holiday entitlement
  • termination provisions and the notice period associated with the position
  • information on where employees can find policies and procedures including disciplinary, grievance and sickness absence
  • whether the employee has any pension entitlement or benefits
  • whether there is a collective agreement in place
  •  contracts may also include provisions dealing with post-termination restrictions confidentiality and intellectual property

Key Risks

Where you are an employer, you are required as a minimum to provide a statement of terms to all employees, and to do so within two months of commencement of employment. However, if you do not have an appropriate written contract in place, your main risks are:

  • Uncertainty and disputes over the exact terms agreed
  • The employee leaving without giving you sufficient notice
  • The employee seting up in competition
  • The employee taking your IP and confidential information to a competitor

By ensuring that a contract deals with the above risk in a reasonable manner, your business will be protected. Read more about our expertise in relation to post-termination restrictive covenants.

How we can help...

It is important that your employment agreement is right for both your business and your employees. We draft employment contracts for all levels of staff, from office juniors to company directors. Our contracts focus on the real needs of the business and ensure that employees are clear as to the rights and obligations afforded to them, whilst the business is protected both during and post-employment. 

If you would like to get in touch with our employment solicitors, please contact us on 020 7234 0200 or

Anthony Purvis

Partner, Employment Law

Anthony offers succinct and practical advice to both businesses and individuals on various issues including redundancies, unfair and wrongful dismissals claims, unlawful discrimination, grievance and disciplinary procedures, TUPE, staff handbooks, contracts of employment, restrictive covenants and their enforcement, settlement agreements and the employment aspects of corporate reorganisations or sales. Read more...

Matthew Hodson 

Associate, Employment Law

Matthew handles all types of employment matters. He represents and advises employees and employers on issues involving whistleblowing, discrimination, redundancies, unfair and wrongful dismissal, TUPE, Working Time Regulations, restrictive covenants and settlement agreements.  Read more...