From 6 April 2020, all employers will need to take action to comply with new obligations to provide information to their workers.
Employers are already required to provide minimum prescribed information to employees. This information tends to be provided in their contracts of employment or in a shorter document sometimes referred to as a "Section 1 statement". From 6 April 2020, legislation will come into effect under which all employers will have additional obligations in respect of providing this information.
The key changes are that, from 6 April 2020, all employers must:
- provide new joiners with a written statement of terms on or before day 1 of their employment/contract beginning;
- ensure that they provide the prescribed information to workers as well as employees;
- provide the majority of written particulars in a single written document;
- provide additional categories of written information (listed below); and
- ensure that entitlement to notice is not set out in a supplementary statement or handbook.
The additional information to be provided is:
- days of the week they are required to work, whether the hours are variable, and if, so how they are varied;
- any paid leave entitlement beyond annual leave and holiday pay e.g. maternity or paternity pay;
- any probationary period (including any conditions) and how long it lasts;
- any benefits not covered elsewhere in the statement; and
- any training entitlement provided, including whether the training is mandatory and/or must be paid for by the worker.
Some information can be provided in a "reasonably accessible place", referred to in the contract/Section 1 statement. For example, information on paid leave (apart from holiday) could be set out in a staff handbook or on an intranet, which is referred to in the contract/Section 1 statement.
The new law applies to new joiners (workers and employees) from 6 April 2020. There is no obligation to provide existing workers who are not also employees with a written statement unless they are re-engaged after 6 April 2020.
There is no obligation to provide the additional information to existing employees. However, existing employees have the right to be provided with an updated statement if they request it after 6 April 2020. Employers are also required to give existing employees a statement of change where there is a change in one of the particulars required by the amended legislation at "the earliest opportunity", and in any event within one month.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS?
This will affect all employers. All employers should therefore consider what steps they will take to comply with the new legislation. Options include:
- ensuring that a process is in place to provide required information to all new joiners (including workers who are not employees) by day 1, at the latest;
- reviewing template contracts/Section 1 statements for new joiners (employees and workers) to ensure that they include the prescribed information;
- either providing all existing employees and workers with updated Section 1 statements or ensuring that processes are in place to provide updated statements on request and when any prescribed particulars change; and
- reviewing training practices so that contracts/Section 1 statements can be updated to include information on training.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.