Important changes are coming into effect on 6 April 2020 concerning the information that employers must provide to its employees and workers. The changes will apply to all employees and workers commencing work on or after 6 April 2020, so action should be taken now to ensure that you are ready for these changes.
At present, under Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1986 (ERA) all employees are entitled to be provided with a written statement of particulars within the first two months of their employment. This is commonly referred to as a ‘Section 1 Statement’, and must include specified information such as the date on which the employment began, how much the employee will be paid and details of their entitlement to holidays and sick pay etc. In practice, these terms will usually be included within the employee’s contract of employment.
Following the Taylor Review and the Good Work Plan in 2018, the Government has introduced a number of key changes to Section 1 Statements that will come into force on 6 April 2020. These changes include the following:
Extension of the right to Workers
From 6 April 2020, the right to receive a Section 1 Statement will be extended to Workers. This includes, amongst others, agency workers, casual workers and zero-hours workers. Workers who are recruited on or after 6 April 2020, who do not receive a Section 1 Statement will have the same remedies as employees when it comes to enforcing their rights in the Employment Tribunal (see below).
Timing of the Section 1 Statement
Currently, an employer has two months from the start of an employee’s employment to provide the employee with a Section 1 Statement. However, from 6 April 2020, a worker or an employee’s entitlement to a Section 1 Statement will become a “day one” right.
There are some exceptions to this rule, meaning that employers will still be allowed to provide certain information (including information of pensions, collective agreements and certain information of disciplinary and grievance procedures) within two months of them staring to work. However, most of the information required under Section 1 will need to be provided by the date on which they start working.
Additional information that will need to be included
In addition to the existing information that needs to be provided in a Section 1 Statement, from 6 April 2020 employers will also need to provide information relating to the following:
- 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;
- any paid leave to which the worker is entitled (such as maternity or paternity leave);
- any other benefits provided by the employer that are not already included in the statement;
- any probationary period, including any conditions and its duration; and
- any training entitlement provided by the employer, including any training that is mandatory and any training that the worker must bear the cost of.
Remedies for Non-Compliance
The remedies currently available to employees will continue to apply following the changes on 6 April 2020. These remedies will be extended to workers too.
If an employer fails to provide a Section 1 Statement within the permitted timeframe (or provides a statement that does not include all of the required information), the employee or worker will be entitled to ask an Employment Tribunal to make a determination of what his or her particulars are. Their terms will then be deemed to include the Employment Tribunal’s additions and/or alterations.
Whether an aggrieved employee or worker is entitled to claim compensation for an employer’s breach, will depend on whether the employee or worker is bringing a claim under Section 1 as part of a separate employment tribunal claim. If the only claim being brought is that the employer has failed to comply with Section 1 of ERA, then they will not be entitled to claim any compensation for the breach. However, if the employee or worker brings another specified employment claim (such as unfair dismissal or discrimination) which is successful, then they will be entitled to receive compensation in respect of the employer’s breach of Section 1 of ERA. The amount of compensation payable in these circumstances will be two or four weeks’ pay (subject to the statutory cap on a week’s pay), depending on what the Tribunal considers is just and equitable in the circumstances.
In view of the important changes that are coming into effect on 6 April 2020, employers should review and update their contracts of employment, to ensure that they comply with these changes. They should also ensure that they prepare and have available a Section 1 Statement to be issued to all workers engaged from 6 April 2020.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like us to review your contracts of employment or if you have any queries in respect of the changes coming into effect on 6 April 2020.