Written statement of employment particulars

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Gateley Legal

From 6 April 2020, important changes were made to the requirement to provide a written statement of particulars of employment. 

Prior to this date, employers had to provide employees whose employment was to continue for more than one month with a written statement of certain terms of their employment. This had to be provided within two months of their employment.  

The changes mean that the requirement to provide a written statement of particulars applies to “workers” as well as “employees.” In addition, the employee or worker will now need to be given the statement on their first day of starting work rather than within 2 months regardless of how long they are employed for. 

For existing employees, there is no need to automatically issue an updated written statement of particulars. However, if after 6 April 2020, changes are made to terms and conditions this will trigger an obligation to issue an updated written statement of particulars of employment which will need to be compliant with the new statutory requirements. 

The particulars must currently be provided in a single document and contain certain information which includes the names of the employer and employee, the employment start date, the place of work, hours of work and pay information. 

For employees and workers beginning work on or after 6 April 2020, the following information must now be provided in a principal statement:

  • Names of employer and worker
  • Start date of employment or engagement begins (for employees, the start date of continuous employment also needs to be confirmed)
  • Any probationary period including conditions and duration
  • Details of pay and interval of payment
  • Hours of work (including normal working hours, days of week and if these are variable, how they vary)
  • Entitlement to annual leave and holiday pay
  • Any other benefits (including non-contractual benefits)
  • Length of notice of termination required from employer and worker
  • Job title or brief description of work
  • Place of work and address of employer
  • Terms as to length of temporary or fixed-term work if applicable
  • Terms related to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month if applicable
  • Any part of any training entitlement which the employer requires the worker to complete
  • Any training which the employer requires but does not pay for

The following information can be provided in a supplemental document:

  • Terms relating to absence due to incapacity and sick pay.
  • Information about disciplinary and grievance procedures although certain information must be given in the principal statement in any case
  • Particulars of any training provided by the employer.
  • Particulars of any paid leave (other than provisions relating to sick pay such as maternity and paternity pay).

In addition to the above, the following information must also be provided however this can be provided within 2 months of the employment or engagement having commenced:

  • Terms as to pension and pension schemes 
  • Details of any collective agreements directly affecting terms 
  • The particulars of any other training entitlement 
  • Information about disciplinary and grievance procedures (although certain information must still also be provided in the principal statement) 

          Problematic areas

Employers will need to make sure that when preparing their principal and supplemental statements, they do not inadvertently make something a contractual benefit when it should not be. For example, in relation to training provided by the employer or enhanced maternity pay. This could have costly consequences for the employer.

In addition, it is not clear whether details of flexible benefit schemes need to be included in the principal statement. In these schemes, many of the benefits are ‘optional’ or ‘pick-n-mix’ and really all the employer is providing is access to the scheme and the option to sacrifice part of pay to receive a different benefit instead.  Those benefits are often provided by third parties. Subject to guidance being published, it is not clear whether all these various benefits will need to be listed in the statement. 

Our view is that until further clarification is given, the statement should include full details of any benefits provided automatically and refer to the other optional benefits under the heading of the flexible benefits scheme and refer them to the scheme itself for full details.

Enforcement and remedies

From 6 April 2020, an employee or a worker may make a complaint to an employment tribunal where an employer fails to provide a section 1 statement or provide an inaccurate or incomplete statement. A Tribunal can award up to the 4 weeks’ pay for failure to provide particulars subject to the statutory cap. 

However, it should be noted that compensation is not available in freestanding claims for failure to provide the statement of written particulars. Instead, only a declaration can be sought to confirm the particulars as they stand or to amend or substitute other particulars as the Tribunal considers appropriate.  

Further support

We work with organisations of all sizes; working closely with HR, people and talent teams or senior executives and business owners. If you require support on this article or any other employment related matter, please get in touch with our expert listed below. 

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