Failure to read employment contracts puts workers at risk

Consumer watchdog, Which? finds that as many as 5.1 million of British workers fail to read their employment contracts properly.

Consumer watchdog, Which? finds that as many as 5.1 million of British workers fail to read their employment contracts properly.
 
Which? quizzed over 4,000 people and found that 26% of workers only skim their employment contracts whilst 6% don’t even get that far and admit to not having read them at all.
 
Only three in ten employees received their contract before starting their job, and 9%  didn’t get a contract until they’d been in the post for six months or more.
 
Overall, at least two million workers in Britain do not have an employment contract.
 
Which? Legal Service has the following top tips for people receiving new employment contracts:
  • 1. Read your contract! – First and foremost, thoroughly read your contract to avoid any disputes with your employer at a later date.
  • 2. Check the handbook – If your contract refers to a handbook, make sure you read this too, as its terms will also be binding.
  • 3. Ask questions – Employment contracts are open for negotiation, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything in the contract that you don’t understand, or that is different to what was agreed at your interview.
  • 4. Sign the document – Many people mistakenly think that by not signing the contract, they are not bound by it, but by working at the company you are deemed as accepting its terms.
  • 5. Keep it somewhere safe – You may need to refer to the terms of the contract in the future, so put it somewhere for safe-keeping.
Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: “Always read your contract before signing it and check that the terms – such as salary, holiday entitlement, notice period and redundancy procedure – are in line with what your employer agreed at your interview. Dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s could pay dividends in the long-term.”





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