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Are your employment contracts up to date?

Employment / 04 October 2019

From 6 April 2020, new regulations will make changes to the obligations on an employer to provide written statements of particulars to its staff.

You will therefore need to ensure that your employment contracts are compliant with the new rules.

Issue

Back in 2017, the Taylor Review recommended that the government should improve “clarity, certainty and understanding” of workers by making changes to the rules on written statements of particulars.  The Government’s Good Work Plan, which responded to The Taylor Review, set out proposals to deal with this issue.  The Government has since issued two sets of new regulations to bring the changes into force.

Key Dates

The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 and the Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 both come into force on 6 April 2020.

The changes apply to any person starting work on or after 6 April 2020.

Impact

In summary, the key changes set out in the new regulations are:

1. Employers must provide a written statement of particulars to all workers as well as employees.

2. As well as the usual particulars, the written statement needs to include new information dealing with:

a)  the days of the week the worker is required to work, whether the working hours may be variable
and how any variation will be determined;

b)  any paid leave to which the worker is entitled;

c)  details of all remuneration and benefits;

d)  any probationary period; and

e)  any training entitlement provided by the employer, including whether any training is mandatory
and/or must be paid for by the worker.

3. Written particulars must be given to workers in a single document on or before day one of work (although there are limited exceptions to this rule).

4. There will no longer be any minimum service requirement before a worker is entitled to receive a written statement.

Whilst these changes may seem relatively straightforward, they are likely to give rise to some complicated issues:

a)  Employers will need to clearly identify their “workers” and the genuinely “self-employed” in order
to determine who the new rules apply to.  This is a difficult area.

b)  Some of the particulars, for example those dealing with disciplinary and grievance procedures and
probationary periods, would not normally apply to workers.  Specifying them in a worker’s contract
may lead to arguments that a worker is actually an employee.

Action

1. Ensure that all of your employment contracts are compliant.  Careful drafting is needed here (for example, to ensure that non-contractual benefits are not made contractual).

2. Consider the employment status of your workforce.

3. When determining who is genuinely self-employed, consider whether the new IR35 rules on off-payroll workers will apply.

4. Put processes in place to ensure that all relevant information can be given to workers on day one.

Please contact us for further advice on any of these matters.

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