Countdown to contract changes for employers

Employers are on countdown for new requirements on employment contracts.  From April, the statutory requirements around statements of particulars are changing and being extended to include all workers, not just employees.

It means that anyone starting work on or after 6th April 2020 will be entitled to a written statement of employment particulars in the required format by day one, even where the work will last for less than one month, and those already working for an organisation have the right to the same information.

With everyone focused on managing the coronavirus crisis, employment experts are reminding companies that they must not miss important deadlines to implement new legislation such as this.

From April the statement must be provided to all new recruits on or before their first day of work and set out in a single document, with only certain exceptions.  On top of all previous information, it must include all benefits and remuneration, all forms of unpaid leave entitlement and all training requirements to provide far more comprehensive information than previously required, specifically:

  • details of the hours and days of the week they are required to work
  • if hours may be varied, how and when
  • if a recruit is subject to a probationary period, how long and under what conditions
  • details of entitlement to paid leave, including maternity and paternity leave
  • any training which must be completed, and whether it will be paid for by the employer
  • any additional remuneration or benefits provided by the employer

Within two months of the start date, confirmation must be provided for pensions, collective agreements, disciplinary procedures and any training entitlement where completion is not a requirement of the job, all of which can be in separate documents.

Said employment law expert, Jane Crosby of Hart Brown Solicitors: “It’s important for employers to make sure they are providing statements to all workers, as well as employees.  There is often confusion over the distinction between an employee, a worker and a contractor, as highlighted by many high-profile court cases relating to those working in the gig economy, such as Uber drivers.

“Although someone may not be an employee, they may still be categorised as a ‘worker’ and entitled to certain rights such as the minimum wage and paid holiday and now a section 1 statement of particulars.  Employees are also ‘workers’, but they have extra employment rights and responsibilities.”

The definition of a worker in the Working Time Regulations 1998 is someone who works under a contract of employment, or any other express or implied contract, to provide work or services personally for a reward and who cannot send someone else to carry out the task. The definition is broad and means that many casual, freelance or self-employed individuals may be treated as workers.

There are some exceptions on sub-contracting of work, and where services are provided by an individual through a limited company.  To help in determining status, the Government has an online tool to help employers and individuals.

Jane added: “Previously, a written statement could be made up of multiple documents, and different sections might have been distributed at different times.  It’s a potential minefield when trying to create one document from all these different sections, particularly in relation to discretionary benefits and distinguishing worker rights from those of employees.

“Employers need to make sure they do not inadvertently create a contractual right for anything that may be subject to circumstances, withdrawn or altered, so such items should be clearly marked as non-contractual, that they may be withdrawn or changed  and are subject to the employer’s discretion at all times.  One way to make this clear is to create an annexe to cover such items.  Similarly, setting up a separate template for workers can help avoid inadvertently extending employee rights to workers.”

 

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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Jane Crosby

Partner, Dispute Resolution & Accredited Mediator

Jane is an employment and commercial litigation solicitor of more than 15 years' experience. Prior to entering the legal profession, Jane was employed in the...

Partner, Dispute Resolution & Accredited Mediator

Jane Crosby

Jane is an employment and commercial litigation solicitor of more than 15 years' experience.

Prior to entering the legal profession, Jane was employed in the aviation industry. This experience is appreciated by many of Jane's clients who note that she is able to take a commercial and pragmatic approach to any legal issue that they face.

Jane acts for a wide range of individuals and businesses and her areas of specialism include aviation, property related industries and IT. Jane regularly advises on aspects of employment law, such as settlement agreements, employment contracts, policies and procedures, redundancies, equal pay, data protection, issues arising from TUPE and reorganisations, the calculation of holiday pay, bonus and commission payments, disciplinary and grievance issues, dismissal and termination issues, the protection of confidential information and the enforcement of restrictive covenants. Jane gets involved in GDPR training for her clients and she is able to deliver tailored employment law training sessions upon request.

As a commercial litigation lawyer, Jane also deals in shareholder and directors disputes, commercial contract disputes and the enforcement of restrictive covenants.

Jane has been involved in successful high value commercial litigation for clients in the High Courts, she is an accredited mediator and she is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Jane is often asked to write for a number of well known publications, including The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Week and she has been interviewed on BBC Radio 4.

Here is small selection of the feedback that Jane has received:

“Jane, I cannot sincerely thank you enough for your wise counsel and am delighted to have made your acquaintance. If I am blessed with a new position somewhere I will hand over my contract in the first instance to you. Likewise, any of my friends, peers, romans and countrymen wanting advice, I will point them in your direction.”

“Jane, you have been most resilient on my behalf for which I sincerely thank you for all your endeavours. I have a tremendous working relationship with Hart Brown and you have undoubtedly compounded this further."

“I appreciated the clarity of advice given at a stressful time”.

“A sensitive and highly professional approach and efficient work in the interests of the client”.

“Your advice, conduct and assistance have been indeed outstanding and very professional but also – and most importantly – very humane”.

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Hart Brown Solicitors is the trading name of Hart Brown LLP registered in England and Wales No. OC 425835 whose registered office is Resolution House, Riverview, Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, GU1 4UX and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) No. 658593. Members: N Maud, T Pearce, D Knapp, R Campbell and P Grimwood, Partners: J Crosby, L Harrhy, J Jupp, J Lamont, T Mandelli, V McMurtrie, E Moore, S Osborne, S Powell and G Sanders.

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