Typically, if you work for someone else and they control what you do, when you do it and how you do it, your contract will be either an employee’s contract or a worker’s contract.
If you are genuinely self-employed, your contract is that of an independent contractor.
Your contract will usually be recorded in writing but it can be verbal too. It will start as soon as you have accepted an offer of employment.
Rights under your contract
The type of contract you have determines the extent of your employment rights and responsibilities. For example, only an employee can bring a claim for Unfair Dismissal or seek a Statutory Redundancy Payment.
If you are an employee you have a legal right to receive a written statement containing your main contractual rights such as hours, place of work, salary, sickness, holiday and pension rights. This should be provided within 2 months of starting work.
Your employer can only change the terms of your contract if you agree to the changes OR the contract says they can do so. Even if the contracts says your employer can do this they may still be acting unlawfully if they go about it in an unreasonable way.
Our employment lawyers regularly advise clients on the type of contract they have and what this means for their rights. Some clients will ask us to review their contracts before they sign or help them negotiate better terms.
We regularly act for clients in tribunal and the civil courts where contracts rights have been breached (e.g. unpaid salary or bonus claims), as well defending employees accused of breach of contract.
We also provide comprehensive advice and representation in relation to post-termination restrictive covenants (specific clauses in a contract that typically seek to restrict your freedom to work elsewhere or with former clients and colleagues).
If you have been dismissed or threatened with dismissal and want advice you can telephone our employment team direct on 020 7653 3222 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.