Key points•In order to separate legally binding contracts from other agreements the law requires there to be an identified offer. An offer has to be distinguished from information such as advertisements and brochures which are "invitations to treat". The person making the offer should have authority to do so. •Offers that are subject to conditions such as "satisfactory references" are incomplete until the condition is satisfied and acceptance of an incomplete offer does not create a valid contract. Acceptance must be by a positive act. Promises made during an interview are legally binding. •Each party must get something from the contract - "consideration".
Key points•If the parties intend that the contract shall not be legally binding it cannot be enforced in the courts•Mistakes, misrepresentation and illegality all affect the extent to which the contract can be enforced. The terms of the contract are fixed when the contract is made. •As a rule, employment contract terms should be put in writing.
Key points•Most employment contracts are open ended•Limited term contracts differ only in a set completion date•Express and implied terms are permissible, however employers must provide employees detailed statements of terms and conditions within two months of commencement of the employment(ERA 1996 ss1-7)•Validity of terms are watched closely by the tribunals
•All workers are entitled to the minimum wage, currently 6 pounds 50 per hour•Employees have a right to a limit on their weekly hours, night shifts, rest breaks, weekly rest, and paid annual leave•No wage deductions are allowed without express authority•Qualifying employees have rights to maternity pay and leave , paternity and adoption leave, time off for dependants and flexible working conditions
Contract of Employment•Contract of Employment overrides and excludes all previous agreements, side letters and side documents from having being binding as part of the agreement and therefore it may need to be amended or deleted if it is intended that other documents (or particular provisions within them) are to continue to have an effect.
COMMENCEMENT OF EMPLOYMENT•The employment start date should be specified in the Contract of Employment. It may also be appropriate to set out whether any previous periods of employment count as part of the employee’s period of continuous employment with the employer. This is because an employee must complete certain minimum periods of continuous employment with an employer to be eligible for certain rights and payments such as unfair dismissal, statutory redundancy payments and statutory maternity pay.
PROBATIONARY PERIODThe purpose of having a probationary period is to give the employer time to assess the employee before making their position permanent. A probationary period typically lasts between three to six months, during which time the employer may dismiss the employee with minimal notice.