The process of forming the contract begins when the offer of employment is made.
There is a statutory requirement to issue a statement of the main terms and conditions of employment. Employers must remember that a failure to issue a statement of main terms and conditions of employment, within two calendar months of employment commencing, can result in an employee making a claim to a Tribunal. The Tribunal may award a sum of between two and four weeks pay which is subject to the statutory cap on a week’s pay where the employee’s claim succeeds.
Before a contract becomes legally binding, it needs to contain four elements:
In circumstances where an employee is offered, and has accepted a job, employers may have some liability if they withdraw the job offer prior to the commencement of the employment.
Offers and acceptances of employment can also be verbal although it is obviously advisable that all such communications are confirmed in writing.
Employers may be bound by any verbal or written commitments, given at interview or offer stage and great care should therefore be taken in relation to the communications given to employees, or prospective employees, at this stage.
It is possible to combine an offer of employment with the provisions of the statutory statement but many employers choose to simply confirm the salary, job title and start date at offer stage and forward the detailed terms and conditions within the provisions of the statutory statement of terms and conditions at a later date.
It is open to employers to stipulate that any offer of employment is subject to receipt of satisfactory references.
In certain cases, it can also be a pre-requisite for the prospective employee to meet certain qualifying requirements. In the security sector, most employees who work as front line security guards are required to possess a licence issued by the Security Industry Authority. In the care field or where people are working with children, there is a requirement for the prospective employee to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check as well as either a POVA (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) or POCA (Protection of Children Act) prior to any unsupervised employment.
In these circumstances, employers can stipulate that an offer of employment should be subject to receipt of the required check.
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