Changes to what employers need to provide to new employees from 6 April 2020
Following a review of modern working practices by Matthew Taylor in July 2017 the Government published a report that proposes the biggest package of changes to employment law in 20 years – The Good Work Plan.
The Good Work Plan proposes numerous changes to a variety of employment law issues ranging from guaranteeing zero hours workers more certainty, to changing the calculation period for holiday pay, to clarification on agency workers’ rights to the tests to determine employment status.
Many of the recommendations do not currently have a date when they will come into law, however on 6 April 2020 there are two significant changes that employees need to be aware of.
Written statement of employment particulars
Currently employers are required to provide employees with written particulars of key employment terms (not necessarily a contract of employment). The written particulars currently must be provided within 2 months of the employee having started their employment. Many employers provide new employees with a contract of employment which contains the necessary information.
From 6 April 2020 for all new recruits an employer will be legally required to provide written particulars of employment on day 1.
The Good Work Plan also requires employers to provide more information as part of the written particulars than employers are currently required to provide. For the sake of clarity, the information an employer will be required to provide to new employees from 6 April 2020 will be:
- Names of the employer and employee.
- Start date.
- Information on how long a probationary period will be.
- Job title.
- Place of work.
- The rate of pay (salary or hourly rate).
- All benefits the employee will be entitled to. This can include non-contractual benefits which could include discounted gym membership, monthly lunches paid for by the employer, childcare vouchers, availability of loans for monthly train tickets etc. This is a significant new change and employer need to take care to make sure they are clear that such benefits, if non-contractual, are clearly referred to as being non-contractual.
- Hours and days of work.
- Training – This is a further new change that requires employers to explain what training it will pay for, what training the employee must undertake at their own cost and clarification about how future continued training will take place.
- Holiday entitlement.
- Sick pay.
- Other paid leave. This is a further change that requires employers to confirm all the other paid leave an employee is entitled to such as maternity and paternity pay.
- Notice period.
- Expected duration of employment.
- What the disciplinary and grievance procedures are.
- Whether there are any collective agreements in place.
Best practice remains for employers to provide employees with a contract of employment setting out all contractual arrangements of the employment. Employment contracts should be reviewed now to ensure that they include all information that is legally required to be given to employees.
A word of caution to employers when reviewing their contracts is to ensure care is taken when listing benefits to ensure that non-contractual benefits are not inadvertently referred to as contractual benefits.
Existing employees can request a new written statement of particulars from 6 April 2020 but employees do not need to provide this if it is not requested.
Employers are also required to provide a written statement of particulars to those engaged as workers and not employees.
Should an employer fail to comply with its obligation to provide a written statement of particulars the Employment Tribunal can make an award of between 2 and 4 weeks pay against them. However, it is important for employers to be aware that this claim cannot be brought as a standalone claim and can only be brought together with another claim such as an unfair dismissal, unlawful deduction from wages or a discrimination claim.
Holiday calculation period
There has been a significant amount of case law and commentary on how holiday pay should be calculated over the past 4 or 5 years. I have myself commented on this.
Where employees’ pay fluctuates, for example they regularly work overtime or receive commission payments, their employer is required to calculate how much a weeks pay for them is worth when they take holiday. This is to ensure that employees are not put off taking holiday by their pay reverting to their basic pay.
At present employers are required to calculate a weeks pay by taking a 12 week average. From 6 April 2020 the calculation period will be extended to a 52 week period.
It is important for those employers whose employees’ pay fluctuates to be aware of this change.
GA Solicitors has an experienced and specialist employment department which would be happy to assist with any issues or queries relating to the proposed changes. Please do not hesitate to contact Rob Zacal on firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01752 203500 or fill in our contact form.