Employment contracts are constructed upon a number of implied and express terms and conditions, which quite often become a source of disputes because they are breached by a party, and if this leads to termination of the employment contract without payment of holiday or notice pay, it gives rise to a claim for wrongful dismissal. An employer may also be in breach of contract if he introduces new terms such as amending the bonus structures or employees pay without consulting employees.
Holiday Pay RIghts
Employees are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks paid leave per annum and a week’s notice pay if employed less than two years or two week’s notice pay if employed for longer than two years. These are statutory minimums. However, this is not to say that parties cannot contractually agree more with your employers. If you wish to leave your employment or the contract is terminated for any reason you are entitled to payment in lieu of unspent holidays and notice pay.
Notice Pay Rights
These may be obvious express terms on an employment contract such as mutual notice rights if either party ends the contract. Employees have statutory notice rights which gives every employee a right to a weeks notice if they have been employed continuously for at least a month up to the first 2 years of employment and then 2 weeks notice thereafter. This can be longer if agreed by parties. This is called contractual notice pay.
However, sometimes employment contracts are terminated without these expressed obligations being discharged whereby the employer unlawfully witholds your holiday and/or notice pay, or disputes the length of the notice. We can often resolve predicaments like these by threatening legal action, but if necessary, we can also assist you in bringing a claim for damages for breach of contract at an Employment Tribunal.
Employment Contract Variations
The contract of employment is not a sacrosanct document because it evolves throughout your employment. Variations to contractual terms can make a significant impact to your working life. They can however also be instigated by an employee with requests for change in working hours or pay as well as by employers seeking, for example, to restructure businesses, which could lead to redundancies and a variation to employees salaries.
We advise on the validity of such contractual variations as certain conditions have to be met before they are deemed to be valid. They cannot for instance be imposed on you unilaterally without your agreement and if the change affects your salary, it gives rise to a right of a formal grievance. It also gives you the right to bring a claim for unlawful deduction of your wage, and in the some cases a claim for constructive dismissal, if you are forced to resign.
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