An employment agreement sets out the terms and conditions of your job. Under the law, your employer must provide you with a written employment agreement, no matter what kind of job you do. You can have an individual agreement, or if you join a union, a collective agreement.
An employment agreement is agreed to by both the employer and the employee. An individual employment agreement is just between you and your employer and may be similar to any collective agreement in your workplace. A collective agreement is negotiated by a union representing employees who are members of the union.
Your employment agreement is the most important document about your job. Make sure you sign it and keep a copy of it in a safe place.
An employment agreement is a legal document that contains the ‘terms and conditions’ of your employment.
An individual employment agreement must include:
Click here for information about collective agreements.
Your employment agreement will set out terms and conditions and your entitlements during your employment. Some things are covered by law and an employment agreement can’t provide for any lesser conditions or trade offs for other conditions (such as no sick leave in exchange for a higher pay rate). There are many things however that are not covered by law, and instead are things which may appear in your employment agreement, e.g. how much notice you have to give when you want to leave your job, or whether your employer still pays you when you are away from work on jury service.
If you would like to change something in your employment agreement you have the right to negotiate with your employer about it. Your employer is required, when offering you the job (or changing any terms and conditions if you are in the job already), to give you a copy of the intended agreement and time to seek advice about the agreement before you accept. The employer should be prepared to listen to any concerns or issues that you have and respond to them.
You have the right to get some advice on an employment agreement before you agree to and sign it. It’s a good idea to take it away and have a think about the conditions it offers you.
You can ask your parents, your careers advisor at school or someone you know who has been an employer or employee to have a look at your employment agreement before you agree to it and give you some advice.
Sometimes employment agreements change because an employer or employee needs a change, such as a change in work hours. This should be agreed to by you and your employer and the employment agreement should be updated and signed again to include the change.
If you do not agree to the change, you (or your representative) need to let your employer know that you do not agree. This is because your silence can be taken to mean acceptance of the change.
Click here for more info about changes.
By law, your employer must give you a written employment agreement before you start work. Your employer must keep a signed copy of your individual employment agreement. If you don’t have a copy, ask your employer for a copy – they must give you a copy if you request it.
If you have never been presented with an employment agreement, you and your employer can use the employment agreement builder, to help you draft up the agreement.
Even if you don’t have a written employment agreement, you still get all the minimum rights in law. Anything you agree with your employer verbally, can be binding as well. Also, what actually happens each day and week at work can over time become part of the terms and conditions of an employment agreement - this is called custom and practice.
A Labour Inspector has the power to ensure you are provided with an employment agreement. Phone 0800 20 90 20 to speak to an Information Officer, who can talk you through what steps you need to follow.