It is wrong to assume there is any great difference between full and part-time, temporary or permanent contracts. They are essentially all variations on the same contract.

The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, which came into force in July 2000, requires employers to offer benefits, such as pay and holiday, to part-time workers on a pro-rata basis. Unfair dismissal opt-outs in fixed-term contracts were abolished in October 1999, and the minimum service requirement for unfair dismissal claims was reduced from two years to one in mid-1999. Employers should be careful not to treat part-time or temporary employees as casual staff with few or no rights.

Written particulars

All employees should be given a written contract so that the terms of employment are clear. By law, an employer must at least provide a written statement of particulars to an employee within two months of them starting work, even if employment ends beforehand. In practice, most employers choose to include this statement with the main contract of employment when a new member of staff joins.

The statement should include:

  • names of the employer and employee
  • the employee’s start date
  • the date on which continuous employment began
  • job title and a brief job description
  • the place(s) of work and employer’s address
  • the scale or rate of remuneration and intervals at which it is paid
  • hours of work
  • holiday entitlement
  • sickness entitlement
  • pension and whether a contracting out certificate is in force
  • length of notice which the employee must give or is entitled to receive
  • where employment is not permanent, the period it is expected to last or the date on which it is to end
  • any collective agreements which directly affect terms and conditions of employment
  • for an employee required to work outside the UK, the period for which this is expected to last, the currency in which remuneration will be paid, details of additional remuneration or benefits and any terms and conditions relating to their return to the UK
  • any applicable disciplinary rules and the employee’s rights to appeal against a disciplinary ruling
  • details of a person with whom grievances can be raised

Employed or self-employed?

Employing self-employed workers such as contractors and freelancers can be beneficial to businesses since the self-employed pay their own tax and National Insurance Contributions.

However, simply putting a ‘self-employed’ label on a worker is not enough. Increasingly Employment Tribunals look at the facts of a particular case to distinguish between a genuinely self-employed individual and an employee. Take into consideration the following when deciding which type of worker your employees fit into:

  • Control: to what extent does the individual work under the control of the employer?
  • Integration: to what extent is the individual integrated into the employer’s business?
  • Loyalty: does the individual work solely for that employer or does the individual work for other employers?
  • Deputisation: can the individual provide a substitute or deputy to oversee work in their absence?
  • Tools: are tools and equipment provided to the individual in the performance of their work?
  • Obligation: is there a mutual obligation to offer work and accept it on an on-going basis
  • Intention: what was the intention of the parties when first established?