Employment contracts: read them or weep!

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Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

In Chapter 6 of Introductory Scots Law, I examine the various sources of the employment contract which include, amongst other things:

  • The written statement of the main terms and conditions of the contract (as per Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996)
  • Employee handbooks (e.g. available on employer’s intranet)
  • Employer’s policies and codes of conduct (e.g. disciplinary codes)
  • EU Laws, Acts of Parliament and statutory instruments (e.g. ERA 1996, Equality Act 2010, TUPE Regulations 2006 , Equal Treatment Directives)
  • Judicial precedent and the common law (e.g. Walker Northumberland County Council 1 AER 737)

So, it was of interest when I saw an article in The Independent this weekend (Saturday 9 February 2019) discussing the importance of examining what employees should be looking for before they agree a new contract. According to the article, no less than 27% of lawyers fail to read their contracts properly before signing a contractual document or agreeing to new terms!

Just remember, of course, that the definition of an employment contract (i.e. a contract of service) can be found in Section 230 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

A link to the article in The Independent can be found below:

“What to check for in your contract before taking a job”

The UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills also has a useful link to a blank template (absolutely free of charge) which provides employers with access to the written statement of the main terms and particulars of employment (so no excuses small businesses!):

Copyright Seán J Crossan, February 2019

Published by

sjcrossan1

A legal blog by the author of Introductory Scots Law: Theory & Practice (3rd Edition: 2017; Hodder Gibson) Sean J. Crossan BA (Hons), LLB (Hons), MSc, TQFE I have been teaching law in Higher and Further Education for nearly 25 years. I also worked as an employment law consultant in a Glasgow law firm for over a decade. I am also a trade union representative and continue to make full use of my legal background. Please note that this Blog provides a general commentary about issues in Scots Law. It is not intended as a substitute for in-depth legal advice. If you have a specific legal problem, you should always consult with a qualified Scottish solicitor who will be able to provide you with the support that you require.

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