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Employment contracts and written statements

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Use this page to help you produce employment contracts and written statements.

Employment contracts

An employment contract is a legally binding agreement between an employer and employee/worker. (See GOV.UK to understand the difference between employees and workers).

All employees/workers must receive written evidence of this contract, but employers can build on this contract verbally. For example, a verbal promise of a pay rise in six months’ time might be deemed as part of an employee’s contract.

Written statements

A ‘written statement of employment particulars’ sets out the terms of the employment contract in writing.

All employees/workers must receive a written statement, made up of two parts:

  • a principal statement (a written document summarising the main terms of employment)
  • other terms of employment (which you can provide separately).

Terms you must include in a principal statement

By law, employers must issue employees/workers with a principal statement on or before their first day of work. It must include the following information.

  • Names of employer and employee/worker
  • Place of work and address of employer
  • Job title or brief description of work
  • Date employment or engagement begins
  • Rate of pay and frequency (eg weekly or monthly) of payment
  • Hours of work (including normal working hours, days of week and whether/how hours/days vary)
  • Entitlement to holidays (and if public holidays are included) and holiday pay
  • Any other benefits (including non-contractual benefits)
  • Details of non-permanent employment or engagement, if applicable (eg period of fixed-term contract)
  • Details of a probationary period, if applicable, including conditions and duration
  • Details of any obligatory training, whether or not this is paid for by the employer
  • If the employee/worker is required to work outside the UK for over a month: arrangements for working outside the UK (including period, currency of pay, additional pay and benefits and return terms)

For employees only: date of continuous employment

Terms you can provide separately

Employers must also share the following terms with employees/workers on their first day of work. You can choose whether to include this information in the principal statement or provide it separately (for example, in policy documents saved on your organisation’s intranet). But it must be stored somewhere employees/workers can easily access.

  • Sick leave and pay
  • Any other paid leave
  • Length of notice of termination required from employer/worker

Employers must share the following terms with employees/workers within two months of their start date. Again, you can store this information separately.

  • Pensions and pension schemes
  • Details of any collective agreements directly affecting terms
  • Any other training entitlement
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures

See more detailed guidance from Acas on what must be in a written statement.

Principal statement template

The templates below should help you get started. They can be adapted for different types of contractual arrangements, such as:

  • full time
  • part time
  • permanent
  • temporary
  • fixed term.

For employees, download our principle statement template:

For workers, try this written terms of employment template from Acas.

It’s a good idea to legal advice before finalising your written statement. NCVO members are entitled to a free annual call with our trusted supplier WorkNest. They provide free, specialist advice on employment law.

Consultancy contracts

Sometimes, you may need to recruit someone to complete a specific, short-term task.

For example, you may need someone with specific skills to set up a new computer network or provide advice on an issue affecting your charity.

For such tasks, you may need a self-employed person rather than an employee.

A self-employed person does not have any ongoing obligation to work with you, beyond the specific piece of work they are contracted for. A self-employed person is responsible for their tax and national insurance, so you do not need to pay them via your payroll.

The arrangements you have agreed should be put into a written contract. This could be drawn up by you, by the consultant, or jointly.

Consultancy contract template

It’s important that you’re clear when you need a consultancy agreement/contract for services and when you may need an employment contract. Don’t be tempted to take someone on as a consultant when they’re doing the job of an employee for you – there could be unanticipated legal and tax implications.

Download our consultancy contract template:

Casual worker contracts

In some cases, you may require someone to work on a flexible and casual basis. In this circumstance, you could employ someone as a ‘worker’.

Casual workers:

  • generally support a short-term or specific need
  • typically, will have ad-hoc periods of work with breaks in between where no work is performed
  • are offered and accept work ‘as and when required’
  • are not under an obligation to accept the work
  • have no agreement on the particular number of hours of work.

Such an arrangement may suit individuals who want the flexibility to take work as and when it suits them. The arrangement may suit employers, to fill short term needs, such as to cover shifts in a care home or to deal with occasional peaks in administrative workload.

Workers have some rights under employment law, but not as many as employees. For example, they don’t have the right to claim unfair dismissal, notice pay or redundancy pay.

Workers do, however, have the following core employment rights.

  • To have a written statement of terms and conditions
  • To receive the national minimum wage
  • Not to suffer unlawful deductions from wages
  • To receive itemised payslips
  • To receive a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ holiday per year
  • To receive statutory sick pay, if they meet eligibility criteria
  • Not to be discriminated against

As workers are not considered to be self-employed, in most cases, they should be paid via the payroll. You still need to take references, check their right to live and work in the UK and, if appropriate to the role, seek a Disclosure (criminal record check) on them from the DBS.

In some instances, casual workers are entitled to the same rights as employees. For example, if you use a casual worker regularly over a period of time, they could be viewed to have the status of an employee in an employment tribunal.

See GOV.UK for further information about workers.

Volunteers

Volunteers are not employees. They should not be given a contract of employment. Instead, you should give them a volunteer agreement.

Read our guidance on writing a volunteer agreement.

Interns

Internships are not a separate category of contract in employment law terms. When hiring an intern, you’ll need to carefully consider the work they’ll do and decide whether to issue them an employment contract or a volunteer agreement.

GOV.UK provides more information on employment rights for interns.

Further information

Last reviewed: 01 August 2022

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 01 August 2022

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