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Contract of employment query

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Hello Eveyone,


I've been reading through a lot of posts for a while now but can't find the answer I'm looking for.


Basically, I have a very small business with 2 employees. A previous member of staff no longer works for me but at the time of her employment she was a good friend of mine.


Because of this friendship I never actually issued her with a written contract of employment, (I know, I know) although basic terms like hours, pay & what work would need doing were discussed verbally.


After her employment ended, I discovered that a considerable amount of specific work I paid her to do was not done. I was advised to write to her asking for my money to be reimbursed, failing that issue a small claims, which I haven't done as yet.


She is now stretching the truth about other non-relevent matters but I was just wondering what the worst case scenario is for me for not having issued her with her written contract. Would a verbal contract be enough?


She was in my employ for 16 weeks (well, she should have been, had she have done the work!).


Any advise much appreciated

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Hi there. The employee is entitled to receive a written statement of the main terms of employment (hours, pay remuneration, holiday and sick pay, job title and main areas of responsibility) within two months of starting. To not issue this is a breach of the Employment Rights Act.


Whilst in itself this is not an offence which is going to land you in jail, the failure to issue a written statement or formal contract will make it almost impossible for you to reclaim anything from your ex-employee (and probably now ex-friend!). Whilst a verbal contract is binding in itself (ie the person attended work and was paid an agreed amount to do so), what evidence is there to prove exactly what you expected her to do in return for the wages? What evidence is there to disprove her likely assertion that she did everything that you asked of her? What if she were to say that part of the verbal agreement was that you would pay her twice the rate of pay that you did, and she now demands the outstanding wages which you owe her?


Sadly I think that you have made the mistake (as have so many others) of trusting a friend and even in some cases a family member when it comes to employing them. You may well have to put this down to a very costly experience, which as a small business you can probably ill-afford. You may want to use the services of a solicitor to see if a legal threat pricks her conscience, but I fear that a threat is about as far as you could pursue this.



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