An employment contract is a legal agreement between you and your employer. It sets out the conditions of your employment, including your working hours, rights, responsibilities and pay.
Why are they necessary?
It is a legal requirement for an employer to provide a worker with the agreed, written terms of their employment. The terms are often set out in an employment contract and provide each party with certainty about pay, benefits, tax, expectations and obligations, both during and sometimes after employment.
Every worker is entitled to receive their written terms of employment from their first day of employment.
Can any terms be changed?
Once agreed, the terms of an employment contract can usually only be changed if both you and your employer agree to make changes. Even where the changes are not agreed in writing, they can be valid changes. Typically, this relates to pay increases.
An employer may try to enforce changes but if they do so without consulting with workers to seek agreement, they may be in breach of your contact.
As well as the written terms, every employment contract includes a series of implied terms, such as the duty on an employer to provide a safe and suitable working environment, free from unacceptable behaviour, or the duty on an employee not to act in a way which is contrary to the interests of the employer.
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