A contract of employment may be verbal but all employees, whether part-time or full-time, are entitled by law to be given a written statement setting out the main particulars of their employment, provided their employment lasts for one month or more. All the required particulars must be given within two months of the start of the employment, unless the employee is to work abroad for more than one month within two months of commencing employment. In this case, the information must be provided before the employee goes away.
It is not necessary to provide all the required information at the same time. It can be given in separate documents provided certain details are collected together in one principal statement. These are:
• the names of the employer and the employee;
• the date on which the employment began;
• the date when the period of continuous employment began;
• the hours of work;
• the remuneration and whether pay is weekly, monthly etc.;
• holiday entitlement;
• the job title or a description of the job; and
• the place, or places, of work.
In addition, the following information must also be given:
• where the job is not permanent, the period for which the employment is expected to continue or, if it is for a fixed term, the date on which it is to end;
• information about disciplinary and grievance procedures;
• details of any relevant collective agreements;
• entitlement to sick leave, including any entitlement to sick pay;
• details of pensions and pension schemes; and
• the length of notice the employee must give or is entitled to receive.
If an employee is required to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month, then the statement of employment particulars must also specify:
• the period for which the employee is to work outside the UK;
• the currency in which remuneration is to be paid while the employee is working abroad;
• any additional pay and benefits; and
• any terms and conditions relating to the employee’s return to the UK.
Employers do have a degree of flexibility as to how to communicate the statement of employment particulars. If a written contract or letter of engagement provides the required information and is given to the employee within the appropriate time limits, then a separate statement of particulars is not required.
Under section 38 of the Employment Act 2002, unless an employer can demonstrate that there are exceptional circumstances, employees could be entitled to an award of between two and four weeks’ pay if their employer fails to provide them with a written statement of employment particulars and of particulars of any changes in terms of employment. This right only applies, however, if the employee has successfully brought another substantive claim.
We can assist you in ensuring that all your recruitment procedures comply with the law.