Contracts of employment

23rd April 2021

Contracts of employment are the foundation of the employment relationship between your organisation and your employees. 

Whilst contracts of employment come in many shapes and sizes, one thing they all have in common is they should contain the prescribed information, contained within Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996).  Everything else, over and above those requirements, is just to ensure that the contract fits the needs of your business and relationship with your employees.


Changes in April 2020

You may already have contracts in place with your employees but as of 6 April 2020, there were changes to Section 1 of the ERA 1996 which has altered how and what information must be given. 


So, what’s new?


Major changes


Detail changes


  • The contract, containing the information of Section 1 of the ERA 1996 must be given no later than the first day of employment (with certain exceptions).


  • Workers, as well as employees, must also be supplied with a contract, no later than the first day of employment.


  • Information regarding the hours and days of the week must be supplied, along with confirmation of whether these are variable and, if so, how that variation will be determined.


  • Details of paid leave (other than holiday or sick leave) must be given.


  • Details of any benefits provided by the employer must be given.


  • Details of the probationary period (if applicable), it’s duration and conditions must be given.


  • Details of training that either will or will not be paid for by your organisation and or what aspects of the training is compulsory must be given.



How does this affect my organisation?

If I asked you whether you would like to hand over between £1,088 or £2,176 to every employee and worker who does not have a Section 1 compliant contract, would you say yes? I suspect not, but how about if we threw in the legal costs for having the pleasure of handing over that sum of money? This is the risk of not supplying your workforce with compliant contracts. 

To avoid this, we recommend that you undertake an audit of your workforce, determine who is an employee and who is a worker.  From there, you will be able to establish whether you need new contracts drafting or old contracts updating.

If you would like to discuss any employment issues arising from this article, whether that is reviewing your current contracts, drafting new contracts, or just discussing how you go about undertaking the audit, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of the employment team on 01325 466 794, and ask for Anthony Willis.  Alternatively you can email

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