Contracts Written Particulars
What are an employer’s obligations?
S.1 Employment Rights Act 1996 requires that (with very limited exceptions) all workers are entitled to receive, within two months of the start of their employment, a written statement of the particulars of their employment.
What should it contain?
Particulars need not be in any specific form, but must include the following minimum information (and in the case of certain policies, inform the employee where these can be found):
- The names of the employer and employee
- The date on which employment began, including any period of continuous employment with a previous employer, and the date the terms took effect
- Rates of pay, or methods of calculating pay and frequency of payment
- Hours of work, including normal working hours
- Terms relating to holidays, including public holidays and holiday pay
- Rules relating to sickness or injury and sick pay
- Pension arrangements
- The employee’s job title or a brief description of the work for which s/he is employed
- Place of work, including details of any mobility clause, and the employer’s address
- The length of notice required by each party
- If employment is not intended to be permanent, the period for which it is expected to continue, or if a fixed-term contract, its expiry date
- Any collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of employment
- Certain details if the worker is required to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month;
- The disciplinary procedure and
- The name of a person to whom the worker can apply if s/he is dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision or seeking redress of any grievance relating to his/her employment.
If there are no particulars then this should be stated. If there is a change in any of the terms, then the employer should notify the worker in writing within one month of the change.
What are the advantages of a contract of employment?
A written statement of particulars can be issued in the form of a contract of employment. While that statement contains all the information an employee reasonably requires, it imposes few serious restrictions on an employee’s conduct beyond any disciplinary procedure. The general law imposes relatively few obligations on an employee and in practice these can be difficult to identify with precision.
A contract of employment allows an employer to take positive steps to impose certain rights or obligations on an employee, for example reporting requirements, changing duties and responsibilities or engaging in other employment activities. A contract can also impose obligations for the protection of the business and its goodwill, customers and staff in the form of a garden leave clause, detailed confidentiality obligations and enforceable post employment restrictions. If these are not expressed in a contractual agreement then the general law imposes either no obligation, or a very limited one.
What is the penalty for a failure to comply with S.1 ERA 96?
If no statement of terms or a contract of employment containing this information is supplied within two months of employment, an employee (or a group of employees) can apply to an Employment Tribunal at any time during their employment (and up to three months after termination) for a determination of what particulars ought to have been given in the statement.
If the employee has another substantive claim to make, then the employee may be entitled to compensation of between 2 and 4 weeks’ gross pay (uncapped) for the employer’s failure to provide a written statements of terms.