Contract of Employment

What are employment contracts?

An employment contract or ‘contract of employment’ is the agreement that is made between an employer and a new employee that states a host of issues. Most importantly, it lays out he rights of the employee in their new role, explaining what they will be expected to fulfil and why. This contract is legally binding, and although does not have to be written down, has to be agreed in some format between the two parties.


One of the fundamental characteristics of employment contracts are the terms set out in them. As far as the employer is concerned, they live or die by these. If something is not detailed in this section, then under law, the employee does not have to carry out this task. Accordingly many employment contracts will state that the individual is required to carry out ‘any reasonable activity’, as a way of covering their backs. The majority of things discussed in the terms of a contract are elementary issues like; wages, start date, finish date, duties, responsibilities, misconduct regulations, and so on and so forth.

Breach of contract

Breach of conduct is a terms that you will often heard spouted around, whether in a TV courtroom drama or eavesdropping a conversation at work. It is actually a very serious offence and can result in severe penalties including legal action or dismissal. What some people fail to realise, is that is can occur on both sides of the fence, by either employer as well as employee.


The breach of an employment contract by an employer is relatively common and occurs in a number of different ways. A common example is through the pressure put on staff to volunteer for overtime, often threatening their position if they decline the offer. If a set amount of hours are outlined in the terms of the contract then they are in breach and can be penalised. Other ways include; asking to perform duties not laid out in the contract, bullying, lateness of pay and not consulting you when changing a contract. All of these constitute a breach in contract and can be perused in a number of ways.

Firstly as an employee you should try and resolve the matter with the perpetrator. Approach them about the matter to see if you can eradicate the breach.

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