Employment Law Bulletin 7

Written Statement of Employment Particulars

With everything else that has been happening over the last few months, it would be easy to forget the usual raft of employment law changes that come into force each April, with this year being no exception.  In this bulletin, we will focus on some additional requirements that will now apply to all employers hiring new employees and workers after 6 April 2020.

Also referred to as a ‘Section 1’ statement, the requirement for a written statement of employment particulars is set out in section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.  This details the key information that employers need to provide to their employees (and now workers) when they start work. 

These particulars are usually incorporated into a more comprehensive contract of employment that will include these terms as well as many others that will ultimately govern the working relationship.

Why is it important to know about the changes?

Employers who fail to adhere to the new rules may find that employees and workers are able to bring a claim against them in an employment tribunal, with each employee able to claim between 2 to 4 weeks’ pay, subject to the current statutory cap of £538 per week. 

Although this type of claim cannot be brought before an Employment Tribunal as a standalone matter, it can be brought as an ‘add on’ to another type of claim.  Although at first glance the relatively modest penalties for breaching these rules may not be a great cause for concern to employers, a claim brought by an entire workforce added to some other smaller claim could prove costly.

For example, if an employer inadvertently amends a term of the employment contract, changing it from contractual to non-contractual (or vice versa), then this could form the basis of a claim for which failing to provide the statement of employment particulars could be added. 

Although this hypothetical claim for breach of contract may not be of particularly high value on its own, when the compensation for failing to provide a sufficient written statement of particulars is added on, it could make the total value of the claim significant and encourage employees to take further action.

What changed?

On 6 April 2020, the requirement for employers to provide a written statement of employment particulars changed. The key changes were as follows:

  • Written statements will need to be provided to all workers. Previously only employees had this right.
  • The right to a written statement has now become a right from day one. This means that any workers engaged on or after 6 April 2020 are entitled to receive a written statement of employment particulars before or on their start date (only limited information can be provided after this point). Previously the employer had some leeway to provide this information in the month following the start date.
  • Written statements will need to provide more information than previously (set out below)
  • All current workers will also be entitled to request a written statement including the additional information. Employers will need to comply with these requests within one month.

What additional clauses now need to be provided after 6 April 2020?

Over and above the information that was already required before 6 April 2020 (see below), employers must now also include the following additional information in a ‘principal’ statement of employment, which must be provided on day 1:

  • the days of the week the worker is required to work, whether the days and working hours may be variable and how any variation will be determined.
  • any paid leave to which the worker is entitled.
  • details of any other benefits provided by the employer that are not already included in the statement.
  • any probationary period, including any conditions and its duration.
  • any training entitlement provided by the employer, including whether any part of that training is mandatory and any other mandatory training which the employer will not pay for.

Information that was already required in the ‘principal statement’ before April 6 2020 (now required on day 1)

  • the employer’s name
  • the employee’s or worker’s name, job title or a description of work and start date
  • how much and how often an employee or worker will get paid
  • hours of work
  • holiday entitlement (and if that includes public holidays)
  • where an employee or worker will be working and whether they might have to relocate
  • if an employee or worker works in different places, where these will be and what the employer’s address is
  • how long a job is expected to last (and what the end date is if it’s a fixed-term contract)
  • Length of notice required to be given by each to the other

Information that can be provided in a separate document (although referred to in the principal statement’)

  • Sick leave and pay
  • Pensions and pension schemes (can be provided within 2 months)
  • Details of any collective agreements directly affecting terms (can be provided within 2 months)
  • Any other training entitlement (can be provided within 2 months)
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures (can be provided within 2 months)

What should employers do to ensure they are complying with these requirements?

Ensure template contracts for both employees (and now workers) are amended to include the above points.  If contract templates have not been reviewed for some time prior to 6 April 2020, it may be advisable to have a wider review of the terms to ensure they are fully compliant with current legislation and fit for purpose.

It is advisable that workers and employees are clearly distinguished, and separate written statements should be prepared for each to avoid any confusion over employment status.

It is important that when amending template agreements to include the above additional information that non contractual benefits (discretionary bonus schemes etc) are not inadvertently converted into contractual benefits.

If you or someone you know is experiencing legal issues or has a question regarding employment law take advantage of our complimentary initial consultation (via telephone or video call) now by contacting us today on 0800 999 4437 or emailing enquiries@parfittcresswell.com to arrange your complimentary appointment with our friendly, legal experts.

We look forward to helping you with your legal needs.