As noted in our previous blog, from 6th April 2020, there will be some changes to the written particulars employers have to provide employees. The written particulars are known as a ‘section 1 statement’, which must contain certain information. This is not the same as a contract of employment, although in practice there is little difference as it makes practical sense to provide the employee with a contract which contains all the required information, as well as any other contractual terms which are agreed.
The changes, broadly, are as follows:
We will look at each of these in a little more detail.
At the moment, an employer has to provide a written statement containing specified information to a new employee within two months of them starting work. From 6th April 2020, this must be provided on or before the date employment starts. There are some limited exceptions to this, which are discussed further below.
From 6th April 2020, workers will have the same rights as employee to be provided with written particulars on their terms and conditions. Whether an individual is a ‘worker’ can be a grey area, but the Employment Rights Act defines a worker as anyone working under a contract of employment, or any other contract where they undertake personally to perform work or services for a party who is not a client or customer of a business being run by them. This may include contractors, casual or zero hours workers.
At the moment, the principal statement – which in practice is usually the contract of employment – must contain the following information:
From 6 April 2020, some further information will need to be included. This is:
Some of the required information can be given in separate documents. From 6th April 2020, this will be terms relating to incapacity and sick pay, pensions and training entitlement. This may therefore be contained in a separate policy or staff handbook if preferred, but must still be given on the first day of employment.
Some of the information can be given in instalments within two months of employment starting rather than on the first day. From 6th April 2020, this will be information about pensions, collective agreements, training entitlement and disciplinary/grievance information.
If there is any change to any of the required information, the employee must be given another written statement detailing the change as soon as possible and no later than one month after the change.
The new requirements will apply to any employee or worker starting after 6 April 2020, but will not apply to existing employees who started work before 6 April 2020, so there is no need for employers to update existing employment contracts retrospectively. However, current employees will be able to request a compliant statement, which must be provided within one month of the request.
It is common for some of the new required information to be in contracts of employment anyway, such as detailed hours of work and probationary periods. In practice, this may therefore not make a significant difference to the type of documents which are issued. However, given it will be a legal requirement for the above information to be included, it is advisable for employers to consider updating any template contracts now and ensuring that contracts are drafted and ready for new employees and workers who are to start after the 6th April 2020. Although certain information can be given in instalments, in practice it is often more straightforward to provide all of the information at once.
MSHB can assist with advice on these changes or drafting of new or updated contractual documents. For help with this or any other issues, contact our Employment Team today.