30th April 2020

Are your contracts of employment up to date?

New changes came into force on 6 April. Following the government’s publication of the Good Work Plan, amendments have been made to Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which impose several new obligations on employers in relation to written statements of particulars of employment.

What does this mean for you? We explain below what this means for employers in respect of those individuals starting employment on or after 6 April 2020 and for existing employees.

Previous position

Up to 5 April 2020, employees were entitled to receive a written statement of their key terms of employment within 2 months of the date on which they started work.

New position

From 6 April 2020, the following key changes came into force:

  • The right to receive a written statement of key terms of employment has been extended to workers (e.g. casual workers with no fixed hours).
  • Contracts of employment must be given to employees/workers on their first day of work or before they start work. There is no minimum service requirement for either a worker or an employee to be entitled to receive this document.
  • In terms of those who started work on or after 6 April 2020, the following additional particulars must be contained in their contracts of employment:
  • Details of any probationary period, including the duration and conditions.
    • Any paid leave entitlement for employees, such as maternity leave, paternity leave, parental bereavement leave or other compassionate leave, paid sabbaticals or any career breaks. In terms of workers they are not entitled to paid statutory leave unless the company offers such contractual entitlements. This will need to be included if this is the case.
    • The days of the week the individual is required to work and, if there can be any variation to this, how that variation will be determined.
    • Details of all benefits which will be provided by the employer which have some economic value (e.g. vouchers, season ticket loans etc).
    • Details of training entitlement. This includes whether any training is compulsory and how the cost of the training is to be covered.

The new changes from 6 April 2020 only apply in relation to contracts which started on or after 6 April 2020. Despite this, existing employees and workers will be entitled to request a newly compliant contract of employment. As an employer, you will need to ensure that you provide this within one month of such a request. Also, it is worth bearing in mind that if there are any changes made to any of the new information required to be given as set out above or where an employee or worker is re-engaged, then an updated contract of employment will need to be provided.

Consequences of failing to comply with the new changes

If you fail to comply with the new rules, then an employee or worker will be able to bring a claim for two to four weeks’ pay. However, it is worth noting that this is not a stand-alone claim which can be brought by an employee or worker as it must be brought together with another claim e.g. unfair dismissal or unpaid wages.

What should you be doing now?

Existing contracts may not contain all the information which is required.  This is therefore a good opportunity to review your contracts of employment and update where necessary.

If you need some advice on updating contracts,  we’re here for you – just get in touch.

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