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24th March 2020

Legal Issues – Written Statement of terms and conditions

Employers should all be familiar with the obligation they have to provide a written statement setting out the basic terms of employment to all employees whose employment lasts for one month or more.

While there are occasions when this slips through the net for a variety of practical reasons and gets overlooked, in terms of the current rules an employer must provide this statement within two months of the new employee starting work.

Timescale

From 6 April 2020, this is going to change. Employers need to be aware of the new and more onerous timescale that will apply in future.

Going forward, a written statement must be given to new employees by no later than day 1 of their employment. Unlike the current situation, this is going to force employers to plan for this in advance.

Workers statement

Not only is the timescale changing, significantly a new category is being added to the requirement imposed on employers to issue a written statement.

From 6 April 2020, the right to receive a written statement of particulars has been extended to include workers as well as employees.

Additional content

Apart from the fact that more people will need to be given a written statement and it has to happen sooner, employers also need to realise that from 6 April 2020, the legislation also requires additional information to be given to the employee / working in the written statement. That additional information includes :-

  • The days of the week the employee is expected to work
  • Whether days or hours of work are variable and if so, the basis on which they will be determined
  • Whether any paid leave is provided by the employer (e.g. maternity leave)
  • All benefits provided by the employer
  • Probationary period details including conditions for passing and duration
  • Details of training entitlement, mandatory training etc. (including mandatory training which is not funded by the employer)

Looking at the new categories, one obvious concern is the lack of any specific instructions about the level of detail to be provided for “all benefits”. Setting out full details in a written statement is going to be onerous for employers and could also create practical problems if they are revised, updated or improved at a later date.

At this stage, recognising that most benefits are detailed in other documents (e.g. employee handbook) anyway, common sense suggests that a simple list of benefits should be sufficient in the written statement provided to employees. Reference to other documents which contain further details could be included for completeness if required.

Current employees

As one piece of good news set for employers who have other issues (coronavirus for example!) to deal with is that there is no need to update contracts of employment / statements of particulars for individuals who started employment before April 2020.

Employers should be aware that anyone who requests a section 1 statement must be provided with one; and any such statement must comply with the new requirements.

Changes to particulars in a section 1 statement must be notified within one month. All employees and workers must be notified of any changes, including those employed before April 2020 who didn’t receive information on those particulars in their original statement.

Future changes

If any terms of employment which are contained in a written statement are changed by an employer, employers are bound to notify employees within one month of the change taking place. Employers should be aware that this notification must be given to all employees and workers, even those who were already in employment before 6 April 2020 and who have not previously had information on those particulars in any earlier statement provided by the employer.

If you have any questions on any of the issues mentioned in the above article, please contact Russell Eadie.

24th March 2020