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Changes to written employment particulars in April 2020

If you cast your mind back to 2017, you will remember that the highly anticipated Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices was published amid much publicity, and made a wide range of recommendations for reform of working practices.

The government responded to this with its Good Work Plan, which included proposals to improve the information that must be provided when an individual starts a new job.

To that end, from 6 April 2020, employers will be required to provide more detailed particulars of employment, to a wider section of their workforce.

 

What is the current position?

Under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, a written statement of employment particulars must be provided to employees (not workers) within two months of the start of their employment.  Employees must have at least one month’s service in order to enforce this right.

What’s changing?

For individuals who start work on or after 6 April 2020, a written statement of employment particulars must be provided to workers, as well as employees.

The qualifying period of employment and the ‘grace period’ of two months from the start of employment will be abolished. This means that all workers and employees will have the right to receive the majority of their employment particulars from day one of their engagement, no matter how long they will be working for an organisation. 

In addition to the information which must be set out in employment particulars at present, the following information must be provided.

  • The days of the week the individual is required to work and how any variation is to be determined.
  • Details of any paid leave to which the individual is entitled, other than sick pay – for example, maternity and paternity leave.
  • Any mandatory training provided by the employer and any other mandatory training which the employee must pay for.
  • Details of any other benefits provided by the employer that have not been set out elsewhere in the statement.
  • Details of any probationary period, including any conditions and its duration.

The following information can be provided in a single supplementary statement within two months of work commencing.

  • Terms as to pensions and pension schemes.
  • Details of any training provided by the employer.
  • A note providing further information about disciplinary and grievance procedures.
  • Details of any collective agreements.

Existing employees

Existing employees (and former employees who make a request within three months of their termination of employment) whose employment started between 30 November 1993 and 6 April 2020, will have the right to request a section 1 statement which complies with the new rules. If such a request is made, a compliant statement must be provided within one month.

Penalties for non-compliance

There is no change in this regard.  As currently, there will be no standalone claim for a failure to provide a statement of employment particulars, or for providing incomplete information.  Compensation will only be payable if a claimant brings a successful substantive claim (such as unfair dismissal or discrimination).  Compensation is between two and four weeks’ pay, and a ‘week’s pay’ is capped at the statutory maximum (currently £525 per week). 

How to prepare

  • Work to prepare for this change should start as soon as possible.  The first step will be to undertake an audit of your workforce and identify which roles will be in scope for the new style employment particulars after 6 April 2020. Build in sufficient time to undertake this assessment, as distinguishing roles which require workers rather than genuinely self-employed contractors or employees may not be straightforward.
  • Check that your standard contracts / employment particulars incorporate all of the additional required information and amend as appropriate.
  • You may need to change your on-boarding processes if you ordinarily issue contracts / section 1 statements after an individual has started work.  Ensure that this process captures all individuals in scope, no matter how long they will be working for you.
  • Note that the new rules require you to provide details of all benefits in one statement. This may prove challenging if you offer a wide range of benefits which are currently detailed outside of your contractual documentation – for example, on intranet pages.
  • Ensure that details of any non-contractual benefits are carefully drafted to avoid any suggestion that the benefits are contractual.

Please contact me, or your usual TLT contact, if you require any assistance with the legal assessment of which roles will be in scope, drafting template documentation and / or implementing the changes outlined above.

Contributor: Sarah Maddock

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at December 2019. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms and conditions.

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