Employment Contracts: Everything You Need To Know

As businesses gradually reopen and employees return to work, most business owners may be responsible for making changes to their employees’ contracts. Here is everything you need to know about employment contracts to make the process legal and practical.

What is an employment contract?

An employment contract is a legal relationship between the employer and the employee. It contains the terms of employment in writing, and both parties are bound legally to the terms. That’s why it’s crucial to check a person’s employment status before creating a contract.

What must be written in an employment contract?

When writing employment contracts, they should contain a summary of the main terms of the employment, including information such as pay, working hours, responsibilities, etc.

Changing an employment contract

As an employer, you can make changes to your employee’s contract under specific circumstances. Such as:

  • If the agreement contains a flexibility clause that allows you to make changes
  • If your employee agrees to those changes following the consultation
  • If your employee’s representative also consents to the changes

However, an employer also can enforce a new contract, but this should always be a last resort after exhausting other options.

Termination of employment contract

An employer or employee can terminate an employment contract either through employee resignation or the employer dismissing the employee.

However, any dismissal should be on fair and legal grounds without infringing on the employee’s rights. It should also come with prior notice and reasons, and the employer should be prepared to provide a job reference when needed and final pay.

Zero-hours contract

You can use a zero-hours contract for jobs on an “as-and-when” basis or for working hours that aren’t constant. With this, you can also create a bit more work flexibility. With a zero-hours contract:

  • You don’t need to give your employee any minimum working hours.
  • The employee is at liberty to also reject any work offered.

Agency workers

If you’re an employee working through an agency, then your employment contract lies with the agency. That means your hiring agency has the responsibility to direct your work. Your agency should also provide you with details about the type of contract you will receive, how much pay is due to you, as well as the terms and conditions surrounding your agreement.

An employment agency goes by other names, including a recruitment agency, a staffing company, a temporary work agency, and an employment business.

Non-disclosure agreements

An employer can prevent an employee from sharing company-related information through a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA). An NDA is sometimes referred to as a confidentiality clause and could come as part of the employee’s contract or in a separate stand-alone document.

However, an NDA cannot stop an employer from reporting a crime to the police or whistleblowing.


If you need further help with writing employment contracts, get in touch with our professional team. At Harwood HR Solutions, we will write tailor-made business employment contracts for your staff.


If you need HR support from a company that understands the needs of your business, contact us today. At Harwood HR we can support your business, help you to grow and promote your employees’ talents. Our UK-based team offers a range of HR support services and advice for SME businesses, including outsourced HR support.


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