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A contract of employment can arise when one party agrees with another that he or she will personally undertake work for the other, which they will be paid to do by the other. It can be made verbally, or in writing, by exchange of letters, by a formal written agreement or it can be implied by the actions of the parties. It can contain express terms and implied terms. The essential characteristics of ‘employment’ must be present. Even if there is nothing in writing there will be a contract where someone is employed by someone else.
Employers do not have to make written contracts but the law is that employers must normally give employees a written statement of the main terms and conditions of employment within two months of their starting work. It has to include, among other things, details of pay, hours, holidays, notice period and, disciplinary and grievance procedures.
The spread of the use of zero hours contract was the subject of a government consultation in late 2013 which led to the introduction of measures in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 which make the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts unenforceable. This has been brought into effect from May 26th 2015.
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