After 27 years, the law on what goes in the statement of terms and conditions that employers are obliged by law to provide to their staff is changing. The timing as to when it need to be provided is changing too.

Employees (and now workers) who start work on or after 6 April 2020 are entitled to receive a statement of terms and conditions of employment before they start work. That means that those who are being offered jobs now, to commence on 6 April 2020 or later will need a new style statement. The new statements are designed to provide additional clarity to individuals over their terms and conditions and make it easier for them to understand their rights and entitlements. Are you sending out new style terms already?  If not, you may not be compliant with the legislation.

The new changes require more information to be included in the main statements of terms, rather than be contained in separate documents. By having all the information is one place, this makes it easier for the individual (and any enforcement body) to ascertain their entitlement and whether they have been correctly paid. Some employers do not use statements of terms and conditions and use contracts instead. The new provisions will need to be contained in one document, and contracts will therefore be affected too.

The new requirements mean that employers must provide detail about the length of the contract, the days of the week the individual is required to work, whether the hours are variable and if so, how the variation will be determined in the main document itself.  Details about training entitlement to be provided by the employer will need to be included, along with whether the training is mandatory and whether it must be paid for by the employee.  Details of any other paid leave must be included, which will include many of the family friendly benefits and others besides. Information about other benefits to be provided by the employer will now need to be included and details of any probationary period applicable along with the conditions that apply to as to whether the individual will be judged successful or unsuccessful at the end of it.

Failure to provide the above statement (or to provide an inaccurate or incomplete statement) can result in a claim for between 2 and 4 weeks’ pay by the individual concerned.

Existing employees and ex-employees can also ask for a new style statement and in the event an existing employee’s terms change such that if they had had a new style statement, the detail would be included within it, then they are entitled to be notified in writing of that change, even if their old terms and conditions make no reference to it. For example, if their terms contain no detail about the other benefits applicable to them but the employer subsequently changes benefits provider, then the employee is entitled to be notified of this change in writing.

There are provisions in place to prevent against the exploitation of these new requirements by staff as they are only entitled to make one request for a new style statement of terms and conditions.  Repeated requests do not need to be complied with by the employer. However, this does mean that HR may be busy in the next few months, ensuring that their terms and conditions are compliant with the new requirements, introducing statements of terms and conditions to workers as well as employees, updating their handbooks and offer letters to compliment the new style terms and training managers to understand that last minute hires will leave the business exposed to potential claims if the terms and conditions are not sent out in advance of their start date.  A greater lead in time will be needed by HR in order to ensure that such terms can be sent out in time and prior to the individual commencing work.

At Lupton Fawcett, we review and draft statements of terms and conditions, contracts, offer letters and handbooks to ensure they not only meet the legal requirements but also provide practical and commercial support for the business by the addition of certain terms that help businesses.

Feel free to contact Angela Gorton on 0113 2802026, email angela.gorton@luptonfawcett.law for assistance in ensuring that your documentation meets the new requirements and is not drafted in a way that creates contractual entitlements where such entitlements are not necessary.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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