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Changes to contracts of employment

The requirement to supply formal information to staff about their employment is set out in section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996). Details such as place of work, rate of pay, length of notice and so on must be given to the employee. Employers will usually meet this requirement by setting out the relevant information in the employee’s contract of employment.

The law on this area has hardly changed since 1996 but now some significant changes are going ahead from 6 April 2020.

The new rules are set out below. If you have any queries or require advice then please contact a member of our Employment team.

The changes

In summary, from 6 April 2020, written statements of employment particulars must:

  1. Be issued to all workers (currently, only employees are entitled to written statements);
  2. Be issued on or before the first day of employment (currently, employers have up to two months from the start of employment to issue the statement);
  3. Be issued to all employees/workers irrespective of how long their employment will last (currently, those working for less than one month are not entitled to written statements); and
  4. Include the following details (in addition to the details already required by section 1 of ERA 1996):
    • Hours of work (including the days of the week the employee/worker is required to work, whether or not such hours or days may be variable and how that variation is to be determined);
    • Any paid leave (other than annual leave or sick leave), such as paternity or adoption leave;
    • Any other benefits not covered elsewhere in the written statement (this includes both contractual and non-contractual benefits);
    • Any probationary period (including conditions applicable to the period and its duration); and
    • Any training entitlement provided by the employer (including any part of that training entitlement which is compulsory and details of any other compulsory training which the employer will not pay for).

Do I have to issue new statements to current employees (i.e. those employed before 6 April 2020)?

No. Unless the employee requests an updated statement or there is a change to any of the particulars required to be included in the statement, employees do not have an automatic right to be issued with a new statement of employment particulars.

Do I have to issue statements to current workers (i.e. those engaged before 6 April 2020)?

No. Existing workers do not have a right to be provided with a statement of employment particulars. However, if their engagement comes to an end and they are re-engaged on or after 6 April 2020, they will be entitled to a written statement of employment particulars for the new engagement.

Next steps

To ensure compliance with the amended section 1 of ERA 1996, in advance of 6 April 2020, employers should:

    1. Review their current statement of employment particulars (i.e. contracts of employment) to assess whether updates are needed to reflect the above changes; and
    2. Consider who might qualify as a worker and prepare a separate template to be issued to workers moving forwards.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like any assistance in reviewing, updating or preparing your contracts of employment.


Your key contacts

Marc Long

Head of Employment and HR Team/COFA

Southampton and London
Marc Long is the Head of Clarke Willmott’s Employment and HR team specialising in TUPE and outsourcing.
View profile for Marc Long >

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