Case Study 1 – Verbal offer of employment (no written statement of terms & conditions of employment)
You're delighted with the new office administrator you're taking on. You give him/her a phone call and talk through the terms of their employment. You chat about pay and hours, and mention that they will need to work every other Saturday.
But after a couple of weeks they ask you why they aren’t working every Saturday. They point out that it's the busiest day in the estate agents and the best opportunity for them to gain more bonus and develop a good reputation. They thought this was part of the deal you agreed.
You've now got a new employee who is unhappy over your misunderstanding and you've got yourself into a tricky situation. Verbally agreed terms are legally binding but of course they are hard to prove. Even so, you didn't want to end up in a dispute - you want happy staff who will help grow your business.
You may now have to negotiate with your new employee because you want to keep them – they are a talented sales administrator with great potential.
What you should have done is put the terms and conditions in writing before they started - preferably outlining these in the letter offering them the job. Also, did you give enough thought to the question of Saturday working before you took them on? It might have been better to have been flexible about this part of the contract.
Remember in employment law, your new employee has to have their terms and conditions in writing within two months of starting work in a document called a Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment.
Case Study 2 – Verbal offer of employment (no written statement of terms & conditions of employment)
You take on someone and agree verbally that they'll be working for you. So, they don't have a contract of employment because there's nothing in writing. Can you can change their conditions of employment as you go along?
No, if you verbally offer someone a job and they accept, then a contract of employment has begun at that point and the agreed terms are legally binding. As soon as the employee starts work for you, then some of their employment rights start from day one.
You will have to put their terms and conditions of employment in writing. This has to be done within two months of their start date in the form of a Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment.
If you don't provide a written statement within two months, your employee will have misunderstandings and they may become upset and leave or end up taking you to an employment tribunal.