Employment contracts left unread by employees

Many employees don’t read their employment contracts properly, and one in 20 doesn’t read them at all, according to a new poll.

Which? Legal Service found 26% of workers only skim-read their contracts, while 6% admitted to not reading them at all, putting them at risk of unfair treatment.

The survey of 4,000 people also found just three in 10 employees received their contract before starting their job, and 9% did not get a contract until they had been in the post for six months or more.

It also revealed that 12% of employed adults do not have a contract at all.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: “Our research shows that many people fail to take the time to read their employment contracts properly, which means they have no idea what they’ve signed up to and could be in for a shock in the future.

“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 ‘Is’ and crossing the ‘Ts’ could pay dividends in the long term.”

Employers’ questions on contracts answered:
Is an employer legally obliged to put the contract of employment in writing?
Why are written terms of employment important?
What happens if there is no written agreement of the contractual terms?
If an employer makes a job offer and the candidate accepts, can the employer change its mind and withdraw the job offer if nothing has yet been put in writing?
Where an individual accepts a job offer but subsequently accepts another offer from a different company will the first employer have any form of redress?

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