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Despite popular belief there is no legal requirement for an employment contract to be in writing and to be signed for it to be binding on both the employer and employee. Employers’ should, however, be aware that they must give each employee a written statement of the particulars of employment within 8 weeks of an employee starting employment. (Section 1 Employment rights Act 1998).

If a new employee won’t agree to the contract you offer them, then you need to consider whether or not to terminate the contract. As stated above, if the employee continues to work for you, even if under protest, then it can be deemed that they have accepted the contract. However from a business perspective do you really want an employee who from day one is refusing to sign the contract you have offered them. Is it worth the risk of keeping the employee on and them causing you further trouble down the line when they have full employment rights (after 2 years). It may be wise to terminate their employment by giving notice and seek an employee who will agree to the terms you have offered them.

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