2. Contract terms

The legal parts of a contract are known as ‘terms’. An employer should make clear which parts of a contract are legally binding.

Contract terms could be:

  • in a written contract, or similar document like a written statement of employment
  • verbally agreed
  • in an employee handbook or on a company notice board
  • in an offer letter from the employer
  • required by law (eg an employer must pay employees at least the National Minimum Wage)
  • in collective agreements - negotiated agreements between employers and trade unions or staff associations
  • implied terms - automatically part of a contract even if they’re not written down

Implied terms

If there’s nothing clearly agreed between you and your employer about a particular issue, it may be covered by an implied term - for example:

  • employees not stealing from their employer
  • your employer providing a safe and secure working environment
  • a legal requirement like the right to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ paid holidays
  • something necessary to do the job like a driver having a valid licence
  • something that’s been done regularly in a company over a long time like paying a Christmas bonus