Law guide: Employment

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The employment contract

The employment contract

Employment statement

Under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (or under Part III of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996), you are obliged to provide each of your employees with a written statement setting out certain minimum terms and conditions that govern your employment relationship, so that they are aware of the main terms of their employment. This is commonly called an 'employment statement'. The details contained in an employment statement can be included in an employment contract.

You are not required to provide the minimum terms and conditions to employees whose employment will last for less than one month.

You must give employees and workers working in England, Wales or Scotland an employment statement by the time they start working for you. For employees working in Northern Ireland, you must give it to them within 2 months of their employment commencing.

Required contents of an employment statement

An employment statement must contain all of the essential elements of a contract including the following information:

1. The names of the employer and employee

2. The employee's job title and/or a brief description of the work that they will be doing

3. Place of work or an indication that the employee may work at various places and if that is the case provide a list of those places (where known) including the employer's address

4. Certain details where the employee is required to work outside of the UK for more than one month

5. The date on which the continuous employment began including any period of continuous employment with a previous employer

6. Details of the scale/rate of remuneration and intervals of pay

7. Terms and conditions relating to hours of work including normal hours of work and contractual overtime

8. Where the 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

9. Details of holiday entitlement, including public holidays and holiday pay (and sufficient information to allow precise calculation of entitlement)

10. Terms and conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, including provisions relating to sick pay

11. Rules relating to pensions and pension schemes

12. The length of notice required by each party

13. The name of the person to whom the employee can appeal to if they are dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision

14. The name of the person to whom the employee can apply to if they wish to raise any grievance relating to their employment

15. Disciplinary rules or details of where they can be found

16. Dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures and explanation of the steps you will take after receiving a disciplinary appeal or grievance or details of where they can be found

17. Any collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of employment, including, where the employee is not a party, the persons by whom they were made

18. Any other term which in view of its importance is an essential part of the contract

As well as the above, employees and workers in England, Wales and Scotland who start work on or after 6 April 2020 must also receive the following:

19. The days of the week the individual is required to work; whether or not such hours or days may be variable; and, if so, how they vary or how that variation is decided

20. Details of any probationary period, including its length and any conditions

21. Details of any other benefits you provide

22. Details of any other paid leave you provide, e.g. maternity leave (even if it's just statutory) –

23. Details of any training you'll provide, including any part of that training that you require the individual to complete and whether you'll pay for it.

For individuals working in England, Wales and Scotland, items 10, 11, 15, 16, 22 and 23 can be contained in separate documents, such as an employee handbook, as long as they are easily accessible. The rest must be placed within a single statement.

For individuals working in Northern Ireland, items 10 to 12 and 15 and 16 may be contained in separate documents, such as an employee handbook, as long as they are easily accessible. The rest must be placed within a single statement.

It is recommended to have in an employment contract a single statement or all of the essential terms, together with any other relevant terms, to enable an employee to access them quickly.

If there are any changes to the employment statement that you give to any one or more of your employees (or workers in England, Wales and Scotland) then you must give them a written statement setting out the details of the change within one month of the change taking effect.

If you fail to provide a complete written statement or fail to tell them about a change to the information in it, employees (and workers in in England, Wales and Scotland) can't make a tribunal claim about just that fact. However, they can include it if they make a tribunal claim for some other (allowed) reason. If successful you can be made to pay up to 4 weeks' pay, plus any other compensation they're awarded.

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