As we finally see a light at the end of the Coronavirus pandemic tunnel, businesses are starting to think about recruiting again. Whilst this is fantastic news for business and the economy, employers need to be aware of some significant legislative changes that have taken place since the start of the pandemic, that will apply to them when recruiting new members of staff.
Read on to find out what those changes mean for you as an employer and for details of Gotelee’s FREE employment contract audit promotion.
Since 6 April 2020, employers have been required to provide all employees and workers with a written statement of the particulars of their employment on or before their first day of employment, irrespective of the anticipated period of employment*.
Previously the requirement only applied to employees who were to be employed for one month or more, and an employer had two months to provide the statement. An employer doesn’t have to provide a separate document to the contract; providing a contract will suffice so long as it includes all the required elements.
The required elements of a written statement also changed in April 2020.
What must a written statement include?
There are three categories of particulars: those that must be given in the written statement itself; those that can be referred to in the statement but details provided in another reasonably accessible document, such as a staff handbook; and those that can be provided in instalments up to two months after employment starts.
Particulars that must be given in the written statement
The written (principal) statement must contain the following:
- Names of the employer and the employee/worker
- Start date of employment and, for employees, start date of continuous service
- End date (fixed term contracts)
- The scale or rate of pay or the method of calculating pay
- Pay frequency, e.g. weekly or monthly
- Hours of work, including any terms and conditions relating to normal working hours; the days of the week on which the employee/worker is required to work; and whether or not such hours or days may be variable and, if so, how that will be determined
- Holiday entitlement and pay
- Notice periods
- Job title/description of duties
- Probationary period, including any conditions
- Place of work
- Certain details relating to work outside of the UK
- Details of compulsory training
- Benefits entitlements
Particulars that may be contained in another reasonably accessible document
Certain particulars may be simply referred to in the written statement but the details given in another reasonably accessible document, such as a staff handbook. This can be useful where you want to keep the statement issued to employees/workers as succinct as possible or, importantly, where you want to ensure that certain provisions do not form part of the contract of employment.
The relevant particulars are terms and conditions relating to:
- sickness absence and pay
- paid leave (note that all paid leave, not just holiday and sick leave, must now be referred to)
- training entitlement provided by the employer
Where there are no particulars for any of the matters listed above, the written statement must state that fact.
Pensions and training entitlement can also be provided at a later date as detailed below.
Particulars that may be given in instalments within two months
The following particulars may be given in instalments but must be given no later than two months after the beginning of the employment (even where the employment ends before that date):
- terms and conditions relating to pensions
- collective agreements, or if none a statement of that fact
– training entitlement provided by the employer
- details of disciplinary rules/procedures, including to whom appeals should be raised
- details of grievance procedures
Employees/workers that haven’t been issued with a written statement or who have been issued with a statement/contract which is not compliant, can make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal and in certain cases can obtain compensation of up to 4 weeks’ pay capped at £2,176.
Free employment contract audit
We recognise that the last 12 months or so have been extremely challenging for business with many facing considerable uncertainty and increased financial demands. In order to assist local businesses, we are offering a free contract of employment audit to all businesses during the month of June 2021.
We’ll review the contracts of employment/statements of particulars, together with any associated policies and procedures, that you have in place and identify areas where any changes are needed. We may recommend changes to ensure compliance with legislation or simply to protect the business’ interests based on our experience and/or best practice.
If changes are needed, we would be happy to amend the documents for you and would agree a very competitively priced fixed fee for the work. There is however absolutely no obligation to instruct us to carry out such work. To take advantage of this offer, contact Marie Allen , Head of Employment, before 30th June 2021.
* Note that for the purposes of this article I refer to “employment” to include engagements with workers, notwithstanding that they are not “employed”.
Whilst accurate at the time of writing, the legislation to which this article refers may change. The information provided in this article is generic in nature and for educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for obtaining legal advice. It is recommended that professional advice is taken on your individual circumstances.