Terms and conditions of employment – contracts of employment – Good Work
In 2017 Matthew Taylor published his recommendations for the modern workplace. The report, now often abbreviated to “Good Work”, included a recommendation that workers are given a written statement of their main employment terms at an early stage.
This recommendation has been adopted and from 6 April 2020 both employees and workers will have a right from the first day of employment to receive a written statement setting out their main terms of employment.
For the first time workers are covered, not just employees. This means you have to clearly identify who are “workers” (i.e. obliged to provide work personally, but not carrying on a business where the employer is the customer) and who are genuinely self-employed. Although sometimes a grey area, you will have to address any status issues in order to provide workers with a statement.
The new requirement to provide employment terms and conditions on day one (with certain exceptions to be provided within two months) will mean you’ll have to get full details of the job offer established from the start and ensure everything is clearly communicated. There will no longer be an exception for jobs lasting less than one month.
The main requirements for a statement of terms and conditions are found in the Employment Rights Act 1996. From April there are additional requirements for the section 1 statement. These must be contained in a single document (not instalments) and are as follows:
- The days of the week the worker is required to work and whether working hours or days may be variable, with details of how they may vary.
- Any entitlement to paid leave, including maternity leave and paternity leave.
- Any other remuneration or benefits provided by you.
- Any probationary period, including any conditions and its duration.
- Any training provided by you which the worker is required to complete and any other required training in respect of which you will not bear the cost.
There are also particulars that may currently be included in a supplementary statement, but which will have to be given in the principal statement:
- The notice periods for termination by either side.
- Terms relating to absence due to incapacity and sick pay.
- Terms as to length of temporary or fixed-term work.
- Terms related to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month.
Dispute resolution (discipline and grievance) procedures and probationary periods, for example, would not normally apply to workers. In fact, inclusing these in a worker’s statement would suggest that they are an employee. Whilst workers have a right to be accompanied at disciplinary and grievance hearings, the ACAS Code of Practice only applies to employees.
Existing employees i.e. those employed before 6th April 2020, do not have to be provided with the additional information. However, an existing employee can request a section 1 statement on or after 6 April 2020 at any time up to three months after the end of their employment. In this case you must give the employee the statement including the additions set out above no later than one month after the request.
If an existing employee has not requested a section 1 statement after 6 April 2020, but there is a change, including to the new provisions which were not in that employee’s section 1 statement, you must notify the employee of the change. For example, if no mention is made of a certain benefit, or training requirement by you, but you then make a change, this would be something that would have to have been included for new employees, and any change notified. Significantly, the change must be notified to existing employees as well.
To prepare, consider the following:
- Review employee/worker status.
- Carry out contract reviews.
- Prepare contracts that reflect what must be given in one go and include the new additional requirements.
- Ensure you know what to do when existing employees ask for a new-style statement on or after 6 April 2020.
This is the last blog for 2019. We’ll be back on 8th January 2020. In the meantime, I wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year.
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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.
Copyright © 2021 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.