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Contracts of Employment Act 1972

Updated July 19, 2017

The Contracts of Employment Act 1972 is a law of the United Kingdom that consolidates several statutory provisions affecting employment contracts. The act consolidates the entirety of the Contracts of Employment Act 1963, certain sections of the Redundancy Payments Act 1965 and the Industrial Relations Act 1971. The act was subsequently amended by the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act of 1978.

British Employment Law

The Contracts of Employment Act 1963 is recognised as the first modern employment protection statute. Prior to the Contracts of Employment Act 1963, employees did not have a legal right to a written version of their contract, nor were employers required to give notice before terminating employees.

Notice of Termination

The act adopted the provision in the Contracts of Employment Act 1963 requiring employers give reasonable notice before dismissing employees. During the period between receiving the notice and the employee's termination, the employee is entitled to his regular pay. Although the 1963 Act required employees to work 21 hours per week to qualify for this protection, this threshold was eventually abolished for provisions dealing with termination notice.

Right to Employment Contract

The act adopted the provision that within two months of employment, employers must provide their employees with a written employment contract. The contract must specify the nature and location of the work; rates and methods of payment; hours of work; discipline procedures; holiday entitlement; and period of notice an employee must give an employer if the employee intends on leaving his job. Furthermore, any new modifications to the contract must not discriminate against the employee on the bases of gender, race and disability.

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About the Author

Julie Rook began writing in 2010. She is a civil rights attorney specializing in employment discrimination. Rook received her Juris Doctor from American University's Washington College of Law where she served as a staff member on the American University's International Law Review. She also holds a Bachelor of the Arts in psychology from Purdue University.