Conditions of service/employment status/contracts

Employment status

There are 2 types of employment status:

  • Employee
  • Worker

It is important to know which category you fall into as this will determine your rights at work.


If you are unsure whether you are an employee or a worker, please visit the Directgov website

Employment contract

This is a legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee which sets out an employee’s rights, responsibilities and duties.

Whilst a contract may not necessarily be in writing, all employees are entitled to a written statement of their employment terms within two months of starting work.

Both the employer and employee are bound to the terms of the employment contract until either :

a) the contract ends
or
b) until the terms of the contract are changed.

Why would the terms of the contract change?

There are a number of reasons why an employer may need to change an employment contract, including their financial situation, changes to the type of work carried out, or changes to legislation.

The following are all things which could be changed:

  • pay
  • working time
  • location
  • duties.

Can my employer change my employment contract without my agreement?

No, changes should only be made after negotiations have been held and both sides are in agreement.

This can either be an agreement between an individual employee and their employer or a collective agreement negotiated through a trade union on behalf of its members.

If your employer makes changes without agreement, this could be considered a breach of contract.

If this is the case the employee must object to the change/s as soon as possible.

Breach of Contract

A contract is considered breached if either the employer or the employee breaks one or more of the terms of the contract.

Can you give an example of a breach of contract?

If your employer doesn't pay your wages, or changes the working hours stated in your contract, this could be considered a breach of contract.

If an employee doesn't work their agreed hours or wear the correct uniform, this could be considered a breach of contract.

Can I request a change to my employment contract?

Yes, you may wish to request improved working conditions, or a different working pattern, or flexible working. These are just a few examples, but there are many other changes an employee may wish to request, either individually or collectively.

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