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Under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 employers are required to provide employees with a written statement of certain terms of their employment.  Certain information must be provided to the employee in a single document (the principal statement). Other information can be given either in the principal statement or in a supplementary statement or statements, which together make up the section 1 statement. This information is often incorporated into a written employment contract.  As it stands the written statement needs to be given within 2 months after the employment begins and applies to employees whose employment is to continue for more than one month. 

The law relating to written statements will be changing from 6 April 2020. Employers will need to provide these statements before employment starts and to employees irrespective of how long the employment is to last.  Additional information will also need to be provided.  At Cheyney Goulding we frequently review and update employment contracts on behalf of our clients.  Employers should check whether the employment documentation they provide to employees will comply with employment law including the upcoming changes.

The information that must be included in the written statement is summarised below. 

The following information is required to be given in the principal statement:

  1. The names of the employer and employee.
  2. The date the employment starts (including any applicable period of continuous employment).
  3. Pay.  This should include the means by which it is calculated and the intervals of payment (e.g. monthly).  Non-contractual pay such as bonuses should also be included.
  4. Hours of work.
  5. Holiday entitlement (including in relation to public holidays) and holiday pay.
  6. The employee’s job title and/or a description of the work.
  7. Place of work. Where the employee may be required, or is permitted, to work at various places, an indication of that fact and the address of the employer.
  8. A person to refer any appeal if the employee is dissatisfied with any disciplinary or dismissal decision.
  9. A person to apply to in connection with any grievance and the way any such application should be made.

From 6 April 2020, additional particulars must also be provided to all employees in the principal statement:

  1. The days of the week the employee is required to work and details of how these may vary.
  2. Any entitlement to paid leave, including maternity leave and paternity leave.
  3. Any other remuneration or benefits.
  4. Details of any probationary period.
  5. Any required training including details of any training the employer will not be paying for.

Also from 6 April 2020, the following particulars that may currently be provided in a supplementary statement must be given in the principal statement:

  1. The notice periods for termination by the employer and employee (if applicable, reference to the relevant law on minimum notice periods is adequate).
  2. Terms relating to absence due to incapacity and sick pay.
  3. Terms as to length of temporary or fixed-term work.
  4. Terms related to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month including how long they are to work outside the UK, the currency in which they will be paid, any additional pay or benefits due as a result of working outside the UK and any terms relating to returning to the UK.

Particulars that may be given in another reasonably accessible document (e.g. staff handbook)

The employer can choose whether to put the following information in the principal statement, in supplementary statements or in reasonably accessible documents that are referred to in the section 1 statement (or supplementary statement):

  1. Terms relating to absence due to incapacity and sick pay.
  2. The notice periods for termination by either side, subject to the specific provisions referred to below.
  3. Information about disciplinary and grievance procedures.
  4. Terms as to pensions and pension schemes.

Particulars that may be given in a supplementary statement up to 5 April 2020

Until 5 April 2020 certain information can be given in “instalments” by way of supplementary statements, at different times to the principal statement, as long as all the information is given within two months of employment starting.  Please note that from 6 April 2020 this will be changing (as above):

  1. Terms related to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month.
  2. Terms as to length of temporary or fixed-term work.
  3. A note giving certain information about disciplinary and grievance procedures.
  4. Details of any collective agreements affecting the employment.

From 6 April 2020, all the required particulars must be provided by the start date save for the following which may be given in instalments up to two months after the beginning of employment:

  1. Terms as to pensions and pension schemes.
  2. Details of any collective agreements affecting the employment.
  3. Details of any training provided by the employer.
  4. A note giving certain information about disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Section 4 statement, variations

If there is any change to any of the required information, the employer must give the employee another written statement detailing the change as soon as possible, and no later than one month after the change. If the change requires the employee to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month, the written statement must be given by the time the employee leaves the UK.

A section 4 statement does not by itself amend the employment contract without the employee’s consent.

Transitional provisions

The changes will not apply to employees whose employment started under the existing rules. However, from 6 April 2020, existing employees may request a written statement complying with the new requirements. The employer will be required to provide it within one month. Employees may only request such a written statement once.

This guide is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.  If you would like to discuss anything in this article please get in touch.

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Cheyney Goulding LLP, solicitors in Guildford, Surrey