"I particularly valued your drafting of the various letters we sent to the employee . . ."
Changes start on 6 April 2020
All of the following changes apply from 6 April 2020 for all employers.
Employees and workers are now both covered
All the new obligations apply to both employees and workers. This is a key change because previously only employees had to be given a section 1 statement of particulars of employment. Now workers have the same “day 1 rights” as employees in relation to section 1 statements.
Particulars in a single document
The majority of the particulars of employment must now be provided in a single document and on or before work begins. Compliance, for most types of employers, is still allowed by the best practice use of a contract of employment. The key requirement is to make sure that your existing templates are reviewed and updated if necessary.
(The old rules relating to having two months to issue the written statement goes, along with the previous ability to give most section 1 particulars at different times provided they were all given by the end of the two month period.)
There are limited exceptions that allow for certain particulars to be provided no later than two months from the start of working. These relate to pensions, collective agreements, any training entitlements and information about disciplinary and grievance procedures.
Reference to other documents
The old rules that allowed reference to other documents have also changed. Now only certain particulars may be set out in another reasonably accessible document, provided it is also referred to in the section 1 statement. These relate to particulars covering incapacity and sick pay, paid leave, pensions and any non-compulsory training entitlement which the employee or worker does not have to pay for.
There is no definition of “reasonably accessible document” but in practice examples will include your employee handbook, a standalone disciplinary or grievance policy or any document that can be easily obtained via a request to HR or via the employer’s intranet to which all employees have access.
New additional particulars to be provided from 6 April 2020
No minimum service requirement
There will no longer be any minimum service requirement before you have to issue a section 1 statement. The previous rule that the obligation only applied to employees whose employment was expected to continue for more than one month no longer applies.
Impact on existing employees and workers
The above changes only apply to new employees or workers starting work on or after 6 April 2020.
The existing section 1 rules will continue to apply to all existing employees or workers UNLESS the transitional provisions apply. Additionally, if an existing employee or worker has their contract terminated and they start work under a new contract on or after 6 April 2020 they must be treated as a new starter and be given a new fully compliant section 1 statement.
The transitional arrangements apply to those employees or workers whose employment commenced on or after 30 November 1993 and before 6 April 2020.
If, on or after 6 April 2020, either during the course of employment or within three months after the termination of employment, an existing employee requests a section 1 statement, the employer must provide a compliant section 1 statement within one month of the request. An existing employee can only make this request once.
If, on or after 6 April 2020, there is a change in any of the particulars which are required to be provided to an existing employee, as required under the new rules, and if that employee or worker has not previously requested an up-to-date section 1 statement, the employer must notify the employee of the change in line with section 4 in the usual way.
Where an employee or worker has successfully won a case in the employment tribunal then they might be awarded compensation for a breach if at the time the claim was brought the employer was still in breach to provide a written statement. A tribunal has a discretion to award up to four weeks’ pay if it considers it just and equitable in all the circumstances. If there is no existing claim, compensation is not available in free standing claims – the tribunal can only make a declaration confirming the particulars as they stand or amending them or substituting other particulars as it thinks appropriate.
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