Many employers don’t give enough importance to having an employment contracts.  In April 2020, the law is changing.

Apart from giving you a fighting chance of protecting your business and setting out what is expected of your staff, there are direct financial consequences of not providing a contract. From April 2020, more employers will fall foul of the law.

What is the law now?

As the law currently stands, only employees are entitled to receive a written statement (sometimes referred to as a “section 1 statement”) containing the basic information about their terms and conditions of employment. This must be provided within two months of the employee starting work.

Failing to provide the “section 1 statement” can lead to an award of up to £2,100.

The new rules

From April 2020, all new employees and workers will be entitled to receive basic information in writing on or before starting work.  This “day one” obligation  includes:

  • The names of the employer and employee/worker
  • The date when employment/engagement began
  • In the case of employees, the date on which the employee’s period of continuous employment began
  • The scale or rate of pay – or how it is calculated.
  • The intervals at which they are paid e.g. weekly, monthly.
  • Any terms and conditions relating to hours of work, including any terms and conditions relating to normal working hours.
  • Sick pay and holiday entitlement.
  • Notice periods.
  • Job title or brief description of work.
  • Where the employment is not intended to be permanent, the period for which employment/engagement is expected to continue and, if it is for a fixed term, the date when it will end
  • Any probationary period, including any conditions and its duration
  • Place of work or, where the individual is required or permitted to work at various places, an indication of that and of the address of the employer.
  • Additional information where the individual is required to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month.
  • Any training entitlement provided by the employer – and any requirements on the employee or worker.

Within two months of the start of employment, you must also provide information about:

  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures.
  • Pension entitlement.
  • Any collective agreements that directly affect terms and conditions.

These new provisions apply to employees and workers who are engaged on or after 6 April 2020. Existing employees will, however, have the right to request a statement containing this additional information after this date, which must then be provided within one month.

What if the employer doesn’t comply?

As is currently the case, if an employer fails to provide this information, individuals will be entitled to make a referral to an Employment Tribunal for a declaration of what their terms of employment/engagement are and apply for damages of two or four weeks’ pay.

What should employers be doing now?

Although these new provisions apply to people starting work on or after 6 April 2020, many employers are already starting to review their employment contracts to ensure they contain the required information. Now is also a useful opportunity to carry out a more general review and update of your employment contracts to ensure they provide your business with the right protection.


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