Statement of terms
From April 6th 2020, as a result of the Good Work Plan, the Government will be extending rights to a statement of written particulars to workers as well as employees. These written particulars will be required from day one of employment. The idea behind these changes is to ensure greater transparency in the employment relationship and to be clear when someone is a ‘worker’ as opposed to an ‘employee’.
A ‘statement of written particulars’ is a minimum level of information about the terms of employment, and this detail is often contained in an employment contract. What’s different is that under the old pre April 2020 rules an employee wouldn’t be entitled to a contract (or written particulars) until they’d clocked up a month of service and even then the employer had an additional month to issue the physical contract. ‘Workers’ (who were not ‘employees’ but were personally engaged to provide services) weren’t entitled to written terms at all. In the new world from April workers and employees must receive their written terms on or before their first day of work even if the work is expected to last less than a month. This will be a major change for the very many employers who prefer to issue contracts after a new person has survived the critical first couple of months.
In addition, the information to be included from day one has been expanded. As a result, myHRdept have been updating client employment contracts to ensure that they meet the new legislative requirements. The additional detail required particularly relates to pay, holidays and holiday accrual, other paid leave and training required or offered, including who pays for it. Certain non-contractual matters such as company maternity pay and any non-contractual bonus schemes must also be referenced by post April 2020 new starter terms.
The good news is that the new terms do not need to be provided retrospectively to staff joining prior to 6th April 2020, although existing staff will have a statutory right to request updated written terms and, if they do, employers will be obliged to comply within a month. The other important point to be aware of is that employers who intend making changes to terms covered by the new post April contract must notify staff affected in writing at least a month prior to the changes taking effect.
We suggest employers review their current recruitment and induction processes to ensure that written terms have been issued, and to ensure that the new person’s status is clear – are they a worker or an employee? We also ask that clients request employment contracts from myHRdept at least a week before a new person’s start date. While we will always do our best to meet urgent requests, leaving it until the employee’s start date routinely is bound to result in delays – our HR admin team only have so much capacity!
What happens if employers don’t comply?
A failure to provide written particulars from day one cannot be brought as a stand-alone claim, but any person bringing another substantive claim (e.g. discrimination or unfair dismissal) will be able to co-join a failure to provide written particulars at all or within the prescribed timeframe. If the employment tribunal finds in favour of the main claim a compensation award may additionally be made in respect of the written particulars claim.
Employees and workers can also bring a complaint to the tribunal if they feel their employer has failed to meet the requirements of the written particulars/contract. In these circumstances a tribunal may force employers to publish and issue accurate terms and/or order compensation for terms not honoured. It is important therefore to ensure that an employer’s revised and updated post April 2020 terms are accurately stated.