Guidance on Contracts

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There are a number of different types of contract of employment with specific uses. It is important, therefore, that those individuals who have responsibility for recruiting and employing new members of staff are aware of the circumstances in which each type of contract may be used legally.

The guidance document is divided into a number of different sections, as follows:

What is a Contract of Employment

This section explains the different terms that can be used (express and implied) and the right of all employees to a Written statement of Employment particulars (commonly call the “Contract”) including timeframes in which the employee must, legally, be issued with this document and what must be included.

What is an Employee

It is vital, for managers to manage effectively and to treat their employees fairly and within the constraints of current employment legislation, that they understand what constitutes an employee. This section explains the definition of “employee” and their associated employment rights, how they may differ from a “worker” and who may be considered to be self-employed.

Various other issues regarding contracts of employment also need to be considered, and are covered in the guidance document. For example –

  • Continuity of service in the Public Sector – This is important as it affects redundancy entitlement and contractual notice periods as employees move from job to job. Breaks in employment that may count towards continuity of employment must also be taken into account, and how the benefits of Teachers are affected by their aggregated service as Teachers.
  • Probationary periods – How these may legally be used in contracts of employment
  • Conditional/subjective offers of employment - What these mean and how to avoid losing the “offer” status and moving to “employed” status.
  • Varying Terms and Conditions of Employment - What you should do as an employer if you are considering changing terms and conditions of employment.

Different types of Contract

This section covers  the various types of contract that can be used and in what circumstances it would be appropriate to use each different type of contract. It also offers some advice on common issues related to the type of contract.

Permanent contract – Full time or part time, including job-share and  term time only

Temporary contract – Full time of part time, including job-share and term time only

Both of the above sections refer to the legislation protecting part-time workers from unfair treatment simply because they are part-time. The rights of employees in a job-share situation are also explained.

The main areas covered in the guidance are –

  • Fixed term contracts
  • Casual Workers and Volunteers
  • Apprenticeships – Contract for training
  • Annualised hours and zero hours contracts
  • Secondments
  • Agency or supply/ self employed workers