Employment contracts – statutory changes from 6 April 2020

Anthony Sakrouge, Partner in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, employment law team.
Anthony Sakrouge
3 min Read

There are two major changes to employment law that come into effect on 6 April 2020 relating to written statements of contractual terms and how annual leave is calculated for part time workers with variable hours.

Written statements of contractual terms

Employers are currently required to provide a written statement of contractual terms (statutory particulars) to any employee whose contract will last more than a month.

From 6 April 2020 there are important changes, in particular:

  • workers, as well as employees, must receive a statement of statutory particulars
  • there will be no minimum service requirement
  • the statement must be provided before or, at the latest, on the first day of employment (at present employers have two months)
  • there are a number of additional particulars that must be included in the statement

 At present the particulars that must be included in the statement are:

  • the names of the employer and employee
  • the date of commencement of employment and date of the start of continuous employment (this provision will not apply to workers after 6 April)
  • pay and intervals of payment
  • hours of work
  • holiday entitlement and pay
  • job title or a brief description of work
  • place of work
  • details of who to apply to with grievances and to appeal disciplinary action

From 6 April the statement must additionally include:

  • the days of the week the worker is required to work and whether working hours or days may be variable, along with details of how they may vary
  • any other benefits provided by the employer
  • any probationary period, including any conditions and its duration
  • any training entitlement provided by the employer, any part of that entitlement which the worker is required to complete and any other required training in respect of which the employer will not bear the cost

The following particulars that may currently be provided in a supplementary statement must be included in the principal statement:

  • the notice periods for termination by either side
  • terms as to the length of temporary or fixed term work
  • terms relating to work outside the UK for a period of more than a month

Other terms which can still be included in supplementary statements or a reasonably accessible document such as a staff handbook are as follows:

  • terms relating to absence due to sickness and sick pay
  • information about disciplinary and grievance procedures (except who to raise grievances/appeals with)
  • pension provisions

From 6 April will be added:

  • details of any training provided by the employer
  • details of any other paid leave (apart from holiday and sickness)

Only the following information may be given up to two months from the beginning of employment:

  • terms as to pensions and pension scheme
  • details of any collective agreement affecting the employment
  • information about disciplinary and grievance procedures (other than the information that must be contained in the principal statement)

Most of our clients choose to provide a much fuller contract that includes the statutory particulars but also a range of additional provisions that are protective of the organisation and this should not change.

This is an opportunity to review employment contracts to ensure they are as up to date and comprehensive as possible while checking they comply with the new requirements.

The requirement to provide a statement of particulars to workers is new and this is an opportunity to review contractual arrangements that are in place with non-employed staff e.g. casual or bank workers.

There will be no need to issue new contracts to existing employees. However, if the changes are used as an opportunity to review contracts more widely, consultations, both individual and, where applicable, collective will be needed to secure agreement to any changes beyond those that are required by statute.

Alternatively, if an existing contract terminates and a worker starts a new contract after 6 April the new provisions will apply.

Annual leave calculation

The other change employers immediately need to consider is a change in the method of calculation of holiday entitlement for part time workers with variable hours. At present the calculation is based on the average over the previous 12 weeks, excluding any weeks when no work is carried out (applicable to zero hours workers). From  6 April the calculation will be based on the preceding 52 weeks. This was one of the recommendations of Matthew Taylor's Good Work plan and intended to ensure that seasonal workers are not prejudiced by the method of calculating holiday entitlement.

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