A contract is an agreement between two or more parties which is
intended to be legally binding (see also
ESM0506). It can be written, oral,
implied or a combination of these.
The main elements of a valid contract of service, or for services, are
The contract is an important factor in considering status and is of crucial value to a worker because it determines the worker’s rights and obligations. It can cover such matters as
It is necessary to establish the
full terms and conditions of the contract. These
include any practices or conventions which exist in certain trades
and industries which, although not expressly agreed between the
parties, still form part of the agreement. Once you have all the
information, check that the terms of the contract have been kept by
comparing what is supposed to have happened with the actual working
arrangements. If there is a difference see
ESM1007 which talks about getting at the
Always ask for a copy of a written contract and, if appropriate, any other documentation which sets out the terms and conditions of the engagement.
It is important to recognise the difference between a framework document and an actual contract (of employment or for services). The former will usually set out the terms and conditions of engagements, which may be offered in the future. A contract will only be effected when the main elements mentioned above are satisfied and, in particular, when work is offered and accepted. It is often the case that the framework document covers workers generally and, when considering separate engagements for an individual worker, you should examine that document in detail in order to determine which clauses apply and which do not.