Taking on staff in the wake of COVID-19
Posted on May 29th 2020
Business owners have had a great deal to think about over the last ten weeks and so changes to employment law which came into effect on 6th April 2020 may just have slipped past you unnoticed.
While you have been wondering how to ensure that your business can continue through the lockdown or at least come out of the other side following this unprecedented period for the economy, the legal requirement under employment law for the production of a written statement of employment particulars to employees has been amended and its scope widened.
What is a written statement?
By way of recap, a written statement lists the terms and conditions of an employee’s employment and acts as evidence of the existence of a contract of employment.
The absence of a written statement can leave employers at risk of being taken to the Employment Tribunal and having to pay compensation of between two and four weeks’ pay to any member of staff bringing a claim who has not received such a document.
It is, therefore, important that employers provide their employees and workers with the necessary paperwork in line with the legal requirements and is potentially expensive if overlooked over a period of time across a significant workforce.
Legal changes as per 6th April 2020
The following changes have now been implemented:
- The right to be provided with a written statement has now been extended to workers, as well as employees;
- The written statement requirement falls on the first day of employment for employees and workers;
- There is a new set of requirements regarding what terms and conditions must be contained within the written statement; and
- There is a set of additional information that employers will have to provide in addition to the requirements for the written statement itself.
Employees and workers
The right to a written statement previously only applied to employees. However, the above changes in the law widens the scope of the protection by applying it to both employees and workers.
In terms of the difference between the two, employees have an employment contract from their employer and tend to be given regular work. They are employed to do their work personally and have to do the work. Employees have rights including sickness, holiday and parental leave pay and are able to claim redundancy and unfair dismissal after two years of service.
A worker’s employment is more casual than that of an employee. They have a contract for services which previously did not have to be committed to writing. Workers have very little obligation to receive or do work, e.g. a zero hours contract or work given on an ‘as and when’ basis. However, they should do work if they have agreed to do it. Workers’ rights include paid holiday, pay slips, National Minimum Age, protection against unlawful discrimination and protection for whistleblowing.
New requirements of a written statement
The following information must be provided on a written statement to a worker or employee on their first day of employment:
- The names of the employer and employee or worker;
- The date when the employment began;
- For employees, the date on which the employee’s or worker’s period of continuous employment began (taking into account any employment with a previous employer which may count towards that period);
- The scale or rate of remuneration, the method of calculation and the intervals at which remuneration is paid (i.e. weekly, monthly etc.);
- Any terms and conditions relating to hours of work including any terms and conditions with regard to:
- Normal working hours;
- The days of the week the worker or employee is required to work; and
- Whether or not such hours or days may be variable, and if so, how;
- Entitlement to holidays, including public holidays, holiday pay and accrued holiday pay on termination;
- Terms in respect of incapacity to work due to sickness or injury, including any provision for sick pay;
- Any other paid leave;
- Any other benefits provided by the employer which do not fall within any of the above categories;
- The length of the notice period for termination;
- A job title or a brief description of the work to be carried out;
- For non-permanent employment, the period for which employment is expected to continue or provide an end date for fixed terms;
- Details of any probationary period, including its conditions and duration;
- The place of work, or in the event that this involves multiple locations, postal addresses; and
- Where working abroad is intended, conditions relating to doing so.
The following additional information may be given in ‘instalments’, but by no later than two months after the beginning of employment:
- Pensions and pension schemes;
- Any collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of employment;
- Any training entitlement provided by the employer or required by the employee or worker and who is liable for the costs of such training; and
- Details of grievance and disciplinary rules and procedures.
How we can help?
Having correctly drafted and formally compliant written statements or employment contracts with appropriate policies and procedures is essential for protecting employers and businesses from future problems.
If you would like to speak to a specialist Employment Solicitor from our Corporate & Commercial Team to obtain guidance on drafting a written statement or employment contract, please contact us on 01244 354670 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306