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Employment Contracts

Written statements and Employment Contracts

When a new employee starts a written statement of particulars of employment (Written Statement) must be provided to an employee.

What must be included within the Written Statement?

The Written Statement must contain the following information:

  1. Names of the employer and employee.
  2. The date upon which employment began.
  3. The date from which continuous employment commenced (often the same as the start date).
  4. Remuneration details i.e. how much and when it will be paid.
  5. Hours of work (with additional requirements added under the Good Work Plan – see note below).
  6. Holiday entitlement.
  7. Any terms relating to sickness absence including sick pay.
  8. Any other paid leave – a new provision under the Good Work Plan (please see note below).
  9. Pension information.
  10. Other benefits – a new provision under the Good Work Plan (please see note below).
  11. Notice requirements.
  12. Job title or brief description of work.
  13. Length of employment (particularly if not permanent).
  14. Probationary period – a new provision under the Good Work Plan (please see note below).
  15. Place of work.
  16. Any collective agreements.
  17. Any training entitlement – a new provision under the Good Work Plan (please see note below).

Good Work Plan requirements

Following the Taylor Review, the Good Work Plan was implemented to put in place legislative reforms in employment law. Key changes were made in relation to the right to receive a written statement of particulars of employment, with effect from 6th April 2020. These were:

  1. The provision of the Written Statement on day one of employment. Although of the information listed above information relating to pensions, collective agreements and training rights can be given later in instalments. Previously written statements had to be issued within two months of the employee starting.
  2. All employees have the right to receive the Written Statement no matter how long their employment is to last. The prior exclusion of employees in short term employment for a period of less than one month no longer applies.
  3. Written statements are not limited to employees. The right to receive is now extended to “workers”.
  4. Additional details must be given in the Written Statement itself (as noted above) which are:
    1. in relation to hours of work, particulars of the days of the week the employee (or worker) is required to work and whether or not such hours or days may be variable and, if they may be, how they vary or how that variation is to be determined.
    2. any terms and conditions relating to any paid leave (other than holiday or sick leave).
    3. any other benefits not covered elsewhere in the written statement.
    4. details of any probationary period, including conditions applicable to it and its duration.
    5. details of any training entitlement provided by the employer.
    6. any part of that training entitlement which is compulsory.
    7. particulars of any other compulsory training which the employer will not pay for.

What about existing employees?

These new requirements do not apply to employees engaged prior to the 6th April 2020. However, if you as part of an overall contract review are updating terms, the addition of the new requirements is advisable.

They certainly apply to all employees and workers engaged after 6th April 2020.

So why have a contract if I have issued the statement?

Whilst the written statement includes a lot of the important information and it may seem you are repeating yourself, it does not mean that this is the employee’s contract of employment, it is merely evidence of it.

As such employment contracts are particularly important especially as they can also add additional terms to those required to be set out by law. For example, you could include restrictive covenants (i.e. protection against employees poaching customers, setting up in competition and taking key employees), car allowance clauses or company car clauses, bonus arrangements.

You can also issue employment contracts instead of the Written Statement (provided it is on day one of the employment) because they comply with the Written Statement requirements as to information which needs to be provided in writing.

Can you change employment terms?

In short, yes you can but there is a process including consultation with the affected employee(s). For more information as to how to go about this, please contact us.

I want more flexibility:

Information that is not legally required to be include in the Written Statement/employment contract can be contained in policies instead. Policies can be amended by employers without first having to obtain employee permission. They should however be notified of any changes. Recent policies clients have asked to be included within their handbooks include:

  • Equality
  • Adverse weather and travel to work
  • Social media usage
  • Data protection

How can we help?

Here at WCL we have helped several clients update and maintain their contracts and policies. We can review what you have in place or start afresh. Simply let us know what you need and indeed what documents you do have and we can then advise as to next steps.