New legal rules about employment contracts

Legal update 2020- new rules about employment contracts
From 6 April 2020 the list of mandatory information that must be provided in an employee’s employment contract will expand. How will this affect you?

In April 2020, new regulations were brought in about (what is officially known in HR as a written statement of particulars), but often referred to by most employers as an Employment Contract. 

Whatever you refer to them as in your business, the two new important questions are…

1) Do your workers have them? 

2) Do they contain the new necessary legal clauses??

The regulations made two key changes in terms of employer obligations;

  • The extension of the right to a written statement of employment particulars to all workers (not just employees) FROM DAY 1 of their employment.
  • Employers will now have to provide additional information as mandatory content for a written statement. 

What does this mean in practice?

Put simply, from 6 April 2020 the list of mandatory information that must be provided in an employee’s employment contract will expand. Receiving a copy is also now a day one right for all workers, not just employees.

Employers will have to provide the following information in the single “principal” document by the time the employee or worker starts employment;

  • the names of the employer and employee or worker
  • the employment start date
  • the date when continuous employment began
  • the pay scale or rate and the method of its calculation
  • the frequency at which salary or wages are paid
  • terms relating to hours of work including any provisions relating to normal hours, with a new requirement to include; days of the week when the worker is required to work and;
    if and how working hours or days may be varied and how the variation will be determined
  • terms relating to holiday and accrued holiday pay including any entitlement to bank holidays and accrued holiday pay on termination of employment
  • terms relating to sickness and injury and sick pay 
  • terms relating to any other paid leave 
  • terms relating to any other benefits provided 
  • length of notice to be given by each party 
  • job title or brief job description
  • expected length of temporary employment or date fixed-term contract ends 
  • any probationary period, including conditions and its duration
  • place of work, or if there is none this must be indicated and the address of the employer included
  • where the employee or worker is to work abroad for more than one month, the terms relating to working abroad, including the period of work outside the UK
  • training that the worker must complete, including training for which the employer will not bear the cost (a new requirement).

There are some other additional terms that, although now obligatory, can be provided by the employer in instalments. Lots of these terms relate to pension schemes, grievance and disciplinary procedures etc. and must be provided within two months of the employee or worker starting work, even if their employment ends before then.

Most information must be provided expressly to the employee but for some terms (for example disciplinary and grievance procedures), employers can refer employees to another reasonably accessible document, for example their employee handbook. If the employer fails to provide a written statement, or the statement is incorrect, the employee can apply to the employment tribunal for it to determine the terms and order the employer to provide them.

Practical tips to do now:

  1. Ensure that all workers, including casual workers, receive a written statement/ employment contract.
  2. Revise your existing written statement/ employment contract, to ensure new information requirements are listed in readiness for future recruitment drives
  3. Provide a written statement/employment contract from day-one of employment.
  4. Add new required information to written statements/employment contracts of existing workers.

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