Following Government proposals made in the Good Work Plan on employment rights, legislation has now been passed which means that the right to be given a written statement of particulars will be effective from the first day of employment, and most notably, will now apply to workers as well as employees. The changes are due to take effect from 6 April 2020, and employers are advised to make themselves aware of their additional obligations to ensure they are prepared when the new rules come into force.
In July 2017, Matthew Taylor published the independent Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices which included recommendations to ‘increase transparency’ of operations between employers and individuals. Subsequently, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consulted on Taylor’s report, implementing the Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 which will bring the changes into force.
What is the Current Requirement for Statement of Particulars?
Under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) employers must provide employees, whose employment is to continue for more than one month, with a written statement of particulars given within two months of their start date. Certain information must be provided in a single document including the name of their employer, their employment commence date, and the date of any period of continuous employment. The statement also must include details about hours of work, pay and the interval of payment as well as holiday entitlement and holiday pay.
Changes to the Statement of Particulars
From 6 April 2020, some of the key changes taking effect include:
- Workers as well as employees have the right to a section 1 statement
- The right will begin from the first day of starting work
- Additional requirements for the section 1 statement which must be contained in a single document:
- The working pattern and whether working hours may be variable
- Any entitlement to paid leave
- Any other remuneration or benefits
- Any probationary period
- Any training provided / required of which the employer will not bear the cost.
There are particulars that may currently be included in a supplementary statement but which will, from 6 April 2020, also 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.
How Will This Impact Employers?
These changes will result in employers having to clearly identify who is a ‘worker’ and who may otherwise be genuinely self-employed. Ultimately, employers will have to address any status issues as soon as possible in order to ensure they can provide workers with a statement and not be in breach of the new legislation. Determining worker status can often be a grey area, therefore advice should always be sought at the earliest possible opportunity if you are ever unsure as to the employment status of anyone working for you.
As the requirement will be to produce statements on the first day, employers will need to ensure that they establish the full details of the job from the outset and ensure everything is clearly communicated to everyone involved in the recruitment process. For example, where managers conduct interviews and offer positions, it will be crucial that those in charge of producing these statements/contracts are fully aware of exactly what the role is and what terms have been offered. It is also worth noting that any ‘pre-06 April 2020’ worker can request a principle statement with the new information and the employer is obliged to provide that within one month of the request being made.
What Should Employers Do Now?
In short, put 6 April 2020 in your diary to ensure that you are not caught out. Now would also be a good time to have your contracts of employment and employee handbook thoroughly reviewed/redrafted in preparation for these changes. This will ensure that your documentation is compliant with the new legislation whilst also ultimately protecting your business.
For further information and to arrange a review of your current employment contract and handbook, please contact Charlie Wood in our Employment Law & HR team on 0161 475 7673 or email [email protected].