All employers are required to provide a written statement of employment particulars to all employees and workers employed on or after 6 April 2020 from the first day of employment.
What is a written statement of employment?
A written statement of employment, or a section 1 statement, is a document which sets out the key terms of the relationship between employer and employee. Employers are required by law to provide these written statements of the terms and conditions of employment to all employees who are employed for more than one month.
What is the difference between a written statement and a contract of employment?
A written statement of employment does not necessarily constitute a contract of employment and vice versa. Indeed, a contract of employment may simply be a verbal agreement between the parties and in this situation, the written statement may evidence the terms of the employment relationship.
Often, however, a written contract of employment will be provided by an employer to their employees and will usually include more detail and information than is legally required to be included in the written statement. In this situation and provided that the written contract incorporates the requirements of the written particulars of employment and is given to the employee within the requisite timeframe, it will also constitute the written statement.
In the event that a written statement of terms and conditions of employment and a contract is provided, the contract will be considered the prevailing document.
Changes from 6 April 2020
Prior to 6 April, employers had two months to provide the statement to employees. New regulations take effect from 6th April 2020 in respect of written particulars of employment.
From this date, an employer will be required to provide written particulars to workers as well as employees. This may not be a clear-cut issue for some employers as the distinction between employees and workers and also between workers and self-employed individuals can be difficult to make.
The written particulars will also be required to be provided no later than the employee or worker’s first day of work. This means that employers will need to prepare the written statement during the recruitment and interview process or at the latest, as soon as the individual has accepted the job offer.
Changes to the contents of the written statement will also come into force and these are dealt with below. It is important that employers are aware that the majority of the information will need to be included in one document, rather than being able to be split into separate documents as is currently permitted.
Although these changes will not affect employees and workers who are already in work on 6th April 2020, those employees and workers will be able to request a new written statement after this date and any such statement should comply with the new requirements and be provided within one month of the request. In addition, any change to the working terms which are required to be set out in the written statement of particulars will need to be told to all members of the workforce who are affected, whether they were working before 6th April 2020 or not and whether they have requested a new written statement or not.
Written statement of employment template
It is permissible for the written statement to be provided in several parts, although certain information must be detailed in a single document.
The written statement of employment must include the following information:
- Name of the employee
- Name and address of the employer
- Job title or job description
- Employee’s start date and the date that their continuous employment with that employer began
- Details about pay, including the amount and how often and when it will be paid
- Place of work or any relocation requirements
- Details about holidays, including holiday pay
- Details about hours of work, including whether the employee is obliged to work nights, overtime and/or on a Sunday
- Days that the individual will work, whether the hours or days of work may vary and details as to how they will vary
- Rights to paid leave, for example, maternity leave
- Other benefits, whether contractual or non-contractual
- Details regarding any probationary period, including its length and any conditions
- Any training required to be undertaken by the individual, including any that will not be paid for by the employer
- Notice provisions
- Details of sick pay and incapacity terms
- End date of a temporary or fixed-term contract
- Any terms regarding working outside of the UK if this will be for more than one month.
Information which can be provided in a separate document includes:
- Termination and notice provisions or the end date of a temporary or fixed-term contract
- Details of any applicable collective agreements
- Pension details
- How to complain about a grievance or disciplinary procedure
- Details of the person to contact in the event of a grievance
- Working abroad requirements (if necessary)
Finally, the written statement must also specify where information about sickness pay and disciplinary and grievance procedures can be obtained, such as a staff noticeboard or staff handbook.
If the employer and employee agree to change any of the terms, confirmation of the changes must be given in writing by the employer to the relevant employee within one month of their taking place.
Employers should be aware that dismissing an employee who has exercised their right to a written statement will be deemed unfair dismissal regardless of the length of time that the employee has been working for the employer.
Failing to comply with the requirements
Employers who fail to comply with the rules governing written statements of employment particulars, either by not providing them pursuant to the legislation or not including the requisite information, could face a grievance from an affected employee. It could even lead to an employment tribunal claim against the employer, although compensation will only be granted to the employee if they successfully bring another claim at the same time, for example, unfair dismissal. The amount of compensation awarded to an employee can vary from two to four weeks’ pay and is capped at a prescribed amount. (This is currently £525 per week but is set to increase in April this year.) If no additional claim is brought or the employee is not successful in any additional claim, the employment tribunal may, instead, made a declaration regarding the non-compliance.
Employees entitled to receive a written statement can also make a subject access request for the information on the basis that individuals are able to request organisations which hold personal information about them to provide it. If the employer does not comply with the request, the employee could make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which may then intervene.
Based on the above, failing to provide the written statement of employment particulars or not including the correct information in the written statement, is unlikely to result in draconian legal consequences (unless a large number of claims are brought from many employees), but compliance is advised in order to create certainty and ensure that the employer and employee are each fully aware of the key terms of the employment relationship. In addition, non-compliance by an employer could have an adverse effect on employees’ morale and, if complaints are made, on the employer’s reputation.
Are you compliant?
Employers are advised to begin preparing for these changes if they are not already doing so.
- Review any template written statements that are used for your workforce and ensure that they comply with the new requirements. It is crucial that these are seriously considered and amended appropriately to avoid the risk of any non-contractual benefits, such as a discretionary bonus, being deemed to be a contractual benefit; careful drafting will be required.
- Bear in mind the timing and requirements for any individuals who are being hired in the near future.
- Consider carefully whether your workforce is made up of workers or employees or a combination of the two. Ensure that two separate templates for the written statements are drawn up, one for employees and one for workers. Workers do not have the same rights as employees but providing them (for example, through the terms of the written statement) could give a worker employee-status.
- Consider providing any current workers who do not have their engagement terms in writing with a written statement once the changes have come into force. This will ensure consistency across the workforce, certainty as to their terms of engagement and reduce the risk of potential grievances being raised.
As employment law specialists, we can assist if you have any queries relating to disciplinaries in the workplace, such as when and how to issue a written warning. Speak to our experts today for advice.
Written statement of employment letter FAQs
What is a written statement of employment?
UK employers are required to give all new employees with a contract of one month or longer a written document outlining key terms of their employment.
What a written statement must include
The written statement of employment has to include specific information about the employee's role, conditions of employment, their rights and entitlements.
Is a written statement of employment the same as a contract?
An employment contract is not the same as a written statement of employment particulars. A contract may for example be verbal.
Last updated: 16 February 2020