When should you get your contract?

4th August 2013 at 01:00

When should you get your contract?



You might have been expecting to get your contract before you started at the school, but actually after being in post for a month you still haven’t had anything in writing about your job. Does this mean that they aren’t sure about having you?


You have no reason to worry, as it doesn’t mean that at all, just that they have been busy and haven’t yet got round to doing it.


And you probably have got something in writing. Your offer letter has contractual force, so unless it was subject to some condition that you haven’t complied with (such as problems with your DBS check – formerly known as CRB), then you are fine. 


The school isn’t actually being remiss here in not giving you a contract after just one month. Employment law says that you should get your contract – officially called a statement of employment particulars - no later than two months after you start work, i.e. by October half term if you started in September.


You could just pop in to see the school business manager and enquire when it is likely to turn up. Might just jog the memory!


When you do get it, check it. Is your name correct? The date of starting? The job title? The agreed salary? If you have a part-time post, have they included the correct part-time percentage? You need to ensure that all the fiddly bits relating specifically to you are exactly right. However, don’t waste your time going through it and then asking them to change the conditions set out in paragraph 45, subsection (iii), because they won't. It is a standard contract that they use for everybody, there will be no exceptions.


But do read it carefully. If it is an independent school, note the resignation dates, which may be different from maintained schools. In particular check if you need to resign ON the first day of term, or BEFORE the first day of term.  If it is a maternity contract, note how much notice you have to give them, and they you, to end the contract. You cannot change these details, but do be aware of them. 


They should have sent you two copies, one for you to sign and return to them, and one for you to keep. So sign and hand in one of them, for them to file in your personnel file in school. On your copy, write the date that you handed it to the school and who to, then put it away carefully in your employment file, along with your offer letter and your payslips.


You have got an employment file, haven’t you? If not start one right away – see the advice: Get yourself organised


Best wishes