If your employer breaks any of the terms and conditions in your employment contract, this is known as a breach of contract.
An employment contract is a legally binding document that sets out what’s expected from both you and your employer.
Our Employment Law Solicitors can help you make a claim with an Employment Tribunal if your employer has breached the terms of your employment contract.
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What is Considered a Breach of Employment Contract?
The terms and conditions will vary from contract to contract. But generally, common examples of breaches of employment contract include:
- Unpaid wages and other pay e.g. holiday pay and sick pay - your employment contract should state how much sick pay and holiday pay you’re entitled to. If your employer doesn’t pay you the amount set out in your contract, this is a direct breach of contract.
- Changes to the terms and conditions – while employers can make changes to your employment contract with your agreement, if they suddenly make changes to your job duties, pay or location of work without it being written into a new contract, you could make a claim for breach of your employment contract. For example, if your employer makes you move work location but this means that you cannot get to the new location because of childcare commitments.
- Not being paid in lieu or during your notice period – your employer is legally required to pay you during your notice period if you’ve been dismissed, or in lieu of notice if you’ve been fairly dismissed without notice.
Finding your Employment Terms and Conditions
Your employment contract will usually include a ‘Terms and Conditions of Employment’ section but in some cases, you may have verbally agreed the terms with your employer.
Usually you’ll get a written statement from your employer within your first month of work. This should set out your main terms and conditions including things such as your:
- Start date
- Job title
- Work duties
- Rate of pay
- Holiday information
- Sickness arrangements
- Notice period
Your employer should notify you of any changes to the terms and conditions within a month of the change taking place.
As well as checking the terms of your employment, you should also confirm your employment status, as this will determine your rights as an employee. If you’re working under a contract of employment, your rights are automatically protected by law.
If you’re self-employed or classed as a ‘worker’, this can make things a bit trickier, as although you may have certain rights under the company you work for, you don’t have employment rights by law.
Can I Take My Claim to an Employment Tribunal?
You can only make a claim at an Employment Tribunal for a breach of contract if your employment has already ended. If you’re still working for your employer, then you will have to take your claim to the County Court or High Court.
It’s important to bear in mind that there’s a limit of £25,000 that can be awarded where a claim goes through an Employment Tribunal. So if your claim is worth more than this, your claim may be best being brought in the County Court or High Court.
If you’re looking to bring a claim at an Employment Tribunal, you have 3 months’ minus one day from when the breach of contract took place, to do so. If your claim needs to go to the High Court or County Court, then you’ve got 6 years from this date to make a claim.
What is the Claims Process?
- Get in touch with our Employment Law Solicitors for an initial case assessment. We’ll look at your situation and the terms of your employment and tell you whether we think your employer breached your contract.
- If we think you’ve got a strong chance of bringing a claim, we’ll tell you how much we think your claim is worth and talk you through our funding options.
- Depending on the value of your claim, with your instructions, we’ll either take it to an Employment Tribunal or the County Court or High Court.
- If your claim is going to an Employment Tribunal, you’ll first need to complete the Acas Early Conciliation, where negotiation with your employer, is encouraged. We’ll help you complete all the necessary forms.
- If you and your employer cannot reach a settlement during the Acas procedure, the Tribunal or Court will make a judgment about whether or not your employer breached your employment contract.
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.