You’ve made it through the interview and you’ve been offered a new job – all good news, but it’s a wise idea to get the job offer in writing before you hand in your notice as there are often checks your prospective employer will want to make before the job is in the bag.
You may need to provide your employer with proof that you have the right to work in the UK. This could be a passport, a visa or a work permit if you are not a British citizen
A job offer may be conditional on, for example, satisfactory references and health record, checking your qualifications or ensuring you don’t have a criminal record. You should be sent a conditional offer letter, which should outline:
Your employer isn’t usually obliged to give you a reference unless it’s stipulated in your employment contract or you work in a regulated industry like financial services. References must be accurate and not misleading. If an employer writes something dreadful and untrue about you, you might be able to sue for libel. They are allowed to just confirm the dates of your employment in the reference though. If you complained about discriminatory behaviour by your employer, and they won't give you a reference because of this, you may be able to claim for victimisation.
If you meet the conditions laid out in the conditional offer letter, you should get an unconditional offer from your employer-to-be. Once you get this, you can leave your old job with no worries.
Once you have accepted an unconditional offer, a contract of employment exists between you and your new employer and if either of you changes your mind the other party will have a case for breach of contract.
When you start your new job your new employer should give you an employment contract in writing which will outline the terms and conditions of your employment that you and your employers have agreed.
It will specify things like what wage you’re entitled to, what your notice period will be, how much paid holiday you will receive and how many hours you will be expected to work. Employment contracts are usually in writing but they may be oral or implied from your actions and those of the person you are working for.
Always read through what is written in a contract before signing it – don’t be pressured into signing before you’ve made sure you’re getting a fair deal. Always ask to take your contract away to look at it.
If you haven’t received an employment contract after you’ve been working for your new employer for more than one month, you are entitled to ask for a written statement of employment particulars which your employer has a duty to provide within two months of your start date. The written statement will set out some of your main employment rights. It must include:
The letter offering you the job, or your employment contract, could be your principal statement or full written statement. There is no need for your employer to give you a separate written statement if everything is covered in either of these two documents.
When you start a new job make sure you give your employer your National Insurance number and your P45 which your previous employer would have given you when you left. This will help ensure you get paid the correct amount and the right amount of tax and national insurance contributions are deducted from your pay. If you're starting your first job and don't have a P45, your employer will give you a P46 to complete, allocate a tax code and work out the tax due.
Your employer may require some ‘lying time’ before you get paid, meaning you won’t get paid until the end of your second week/month. This money is held by the employer as security in case you leave without working notice (which is in your contract and could be anything from one week to two month). It will be paid to you at the end of your time with that employer.
Keep a note of all the time you’ve worked in a week if you get paid per hour to make sure you are being paid for all the hours you work.
Employers are not allowed to pay their employees less than the National Minimum Wage. This is currently:
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