Some of the finer details of the new rules for written statements of employment particulars have gone under the radar.
Under the Good Work Plan, published in December 2018, from 6 April 2020 every new employee and worker will have the right to the current statement of written particulars from day one of their contract. However, not everyone is aware of the new requirements in the statement and the effect on workers as opposed to employees.
The new requirements are: normal working hours, required working days, and, if such hours or days vary, a statement of how that is determined; entitlement to paid leave aside from holiday and sick leave, such as paid maternity, paternity and other benefits; details of any probationary periods and terms and training provided or required by the employer, including where the employer will not pay for it.
From April 2020, ‘worker’ replaces the word ’employee’ for these statements. This seems straightforward, but it will mean employers clearly identifying which individuals are workers, and therefore obliged to provide work personally, not having a business where the employer is the customer, versus those who are genuinely self-employed. Although sometimes a grey area, employers will have to address any status issues straight away in order to provide workers with a statement.
Additionally, disciplinary and grievance procedures and probationary periods, for example, would not normally apply to workers. Ironically, to specify these in a worker’s statement would actually point towards them being an employee. While workers have a right to be accompanied at disciplinary and grievance hearings, The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) code of practice only applies to employees. Hopefully, guidance will clarify what employers should say when these do not apply.
The requirement to produce statements on day one, with certain exceptions to be provided within two months, will mean employers getting full details of the job offer established from the outset, and ensuring everything is clearly communicated, especially where managers are conducting recruitment negotiations and another department is issuing the statement.
Ruth Christy is a professional support lawyer and associate in the Southampton-based employment team at Blake Morgan