Changes to Written Statements of Employment from April 2020

Currently, all employees, who are engaged for one month or more, are legally entitled to a Written Statement, which they must receive within two months of starting the job. However, from 6th April 2020, all workers will need this statement too!Written Statements

Currently, this statement is a summary, in writing, of an employees’ main terms and conditions of employment. It’s not itself a contract of employment but is evidence of the contract of employment. From April 2020, workers will also have this right, see details below.

What should be included in a Written Statement now?

The right to a written statement comes from Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), and is sometimes called a Section 1 statement. The written statement must include:

  • The name of the employee and the name and address of your employer
  • The date their employment and continuous employment began
  • Their job title and job description
  • Their job location
  • Their pay details
  • Their working hours
  • Their entitlement to holidays and rest breaks (under the Working Time Regulations)
  • Their sick pay entitlement and notification time-scales
  • Details of any pension scheme which the employer operates
  • The notice periods they need to give to end their employment if they want to resign and the notice period the employer has to give to end the employment.
  • The details of the employer’s disciplinary rules and procedures, appeal rules, grievance procedures and details of any collective agreements the employer has with Trade Unions that directly affect their conditions of employment (or details of where this information can be found).

The Right to receive a Written Statement – now and in the future?

If an employee is not provided with a Written Statement within two months then they can to lodge a claim with an Employment Tribunal that they’ve not received their Written Statement (this is called making a ‘reference’ under the Written Statement Requirements), which is also an ‘automatic’ unfair dismissal reason (as it is a statutory right).

The tribunal will decide what employment particulars the employee should’ve been given and these will take effect, as if the employer had given them to you. There can be small financial compensation for employees in these instances at Tribunal.

However, in January 2019, in Miss Stefanko and others v Maritime Hotel Ltd, an Employment Appeal Tribunal found that an employee with at least one month’s continuous service (but less than two months’) had a right to a written statement – the claim was bought by three waiting staff, with short periods of employment, who were all dismissed on 7th July 2016 when they objected to ‘persistent shortfalls in their wages, late payment and a falsification of their wage slips’. They all successfully complained that they had been automatically unfairly dismissed because they had asserted their statutory right (to receive a written statement). The right to a written statement therefore applies even if a person’s employment ends before their two months is up.

In addition, the Government have stated that from 6th April 2020, all employees plus all workers will be entitled to a written statement from Day 1 of employment (or before), regardless of the likely length of their employment. In addition to the current requirements for a Section 1 Statement (Written Statement), from April 2020, employees and workers will also need to know:

  • The days of the week they are required to work
  • Whether the working hours or days are variable, and if they are variable details of how they will vary
  • Any entitlement to paid leave, including maternity leave and paternity leave
  • Any other remuneration or benefits given by the Employer
  • Details of any probationary period, its length and any conditions attached to it
  • Details of any training, provided by the Employer, which the worker must complete, and any training that is required which the employer will not pay for
  • Details of the length of temporary or fixed term work
  • Information relating to work to be undertaken outside of the UK (for longer than one month).

There is currently some concern about having to give workers information about disciplinary and grievance periods, and information about probationary periods, when these would not normally apply to ‘workers’, only employees. So, we wait for further guidance about that! In addition, it may be important that some of things that need to be in the statement, that are ‘new’, should not be a contractual benefit/right (e.g training, enhanced maternity pay etc), so we wait for guidance on that too!.

What does this 2020 change mean for Employers?

All Employers will need to consider how they can this information to new staff on (or before) Day 1 (which may cause problems if they hire lots of casual workers).

For existing staff – employers will not have to give them this information straight away, if they do not already do so (i.e. on 6th April 2020). An existing employee can though, request a Section 1 Statement on or after 6th April 2020 and for up to 3 months after their employment ends. If existing employees’ ask for this statement after April 2020, Employers are obliged to give this information within one month of the request.

In addition, if there is a change to an employees’ terms and conditions after 6th April 2020 (that are covered by the Section 1 Statement) requirements, they must be informed of this change.

I think we’ll need some more information, so when we have it, we’ll update this further!  If you need any help with this please get in touch!

 

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