New laws to provide workers with a written statement of employment particulars are coming into effect on 6 April 2020

Currently employers have to provide employees with a written statement of employment particulars within two months of the employees’ start date where the employment is longer than one month.

However, from 6 April 2020 employers will have to provide all new recruits including workers with an upgraded statement of written particulars and this must provided when they first start working for the company.  In other words, they must receive this on the first day of work.

These provisions have been implemented and follow the Government’s Good work plan which in turn follows the recommendations of the Taylor report.  The aim is to ensure that workers know their rights from day one.

The prescribed items that specifically will need to be included in one single document are:-

  • Start date;
  • Whether fixed term;
  • Salary/Remuneration;
  • Benefits for example private medical and pension;
  • Hours and days of work;
  • Whether such hours are variable or not;
  • How hours of work will be determined;
  • Probationary period and duration;
  • Annual leave entitlement;
  • Maternity and Paternity pay;
  • Disciplinary and Grievances;
  • Details of training including mandatory training not funded by the employer.

These changes are part of a process of extending employment rights to workers which is a hybrid category of employment status in-between employment and self-employment.

The difficulty with these new laws for employers is that they could create contractual rights for employees by default where there is no intention to do so.  It is therefore important that these new written statements are carefully drafted in terms of providing clarity in the information being provided and in avoiding confusion in providing excessive technical details.

If an employer gets it wrong or fails to provide these new statements then a disgruntled employee can make a complaint to an employment tribunal but only alongside another claim that they are pursuing for example unlawful deduction of pay and discrimination.   An employee cannot bring a stand-alone claim for a failure to issue a written statement of employment particulars.   The employment tribunal will however have the power to determine what the written statement of employment particulars should have said if any of the information is missing.

The levels of compensation that the employment tribunal has the power to award for a failure to comply are however limited to between two and four weeks pay which is capped at the statutory rate of £525 per week.  This will increase to £538 per week from 6 April 2020 when these new laws come into effect.

It is therefore  important to plan ahead by auditing your workforce and all new recruits to ensure that written statements are updated and are compliant with these new provisions.

For further information please contact Steven Eckett, Partner and Head of Employment or 020 7703 5034.