When should you provide a written statement of employment terms and conditions?
A revolutionary case could alter the rules surrounding the timescale employers have in providing their employees with a written statement of their terms and conditions of work. It is believed that the impact will be more for those with a high turnover of staff and will require greater organisation from HR departments.
When you are employing an individual you have certain legal obligations to comply with, take a look at the information we have available on our website in relation to employment contracts and terms and conditions, here.
The current legal stance on providing a statement of terms and conditions to employees.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 states that employers must provide a written statement on the terms and conditions of an employee’s work within two months of the work commencing. A recent case has challenged this and the tribunal ruled that hotel staff were in fact entitled to a statement of rights after the first month of work.
Background details of the Statement of Terms and Conditions Case
The three employees were recruited as waiting staff for a hotel. They were each employed in close succession to one other and a few months later, in July 2016, were all dismissed when they objected to persistent shortfalls in their wages, late payment and falsification of their wage slips.
As a result of their dismissal the three individuals brought the hotel before an Employment Tribunal claiming that they were not given terms and conditions of employment at any time during or after their employment with the hotel.
The tribunal ruled that the hotel had indeed failed to provide this statement for two of the three claimants and that these two had been unfairly dismissed, as a result of this ruling they were awarded an amount equal to four weeks’ pay.
The third individual was not deemed eligible because she had only been employed by the hotel for six weeks and this is where the rules become blurred.
Two months is the amount of time given by section 1(2) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 for an employer to provide a statement on the terms and conditions of an employee’s work. However, section 2(6) of the Employment Rights Act says the right to a statement of employment particulars exists even if a person’s employment ends before the two months period is up.
With this in mind, the third claimant was in fact entitled to a statement and her claim was awarded.
A reinterpretation of the rules surrounding the provision of a statement of terms and conditions
This reinterpretation of the law is deemed revolutionary and essentially says that employees are entitled to have a statement of their employment particulars after one month, and the further month is a grace period for employers to provide this. The consequences of this for employers and HR departments generally are minimal however the impact may be more significant for industries such a hospitality and retail who are subjected to much higher staff turnover. It would simply require employers to be more adept in getting statements to employee’s in timely manner which will initially require changes to processes and procedures.
Employers should be careful about dismissing an employer for ‘exercising or trying to exercise their statutory right to a written statement of particulars’ as it is automatically unfair dismissal, with no minimum service required.
Employment Law support from Lawson-West Solicitors
If you have any questions in relation to the issues raised in this article or would like to know more about the rules surrounding employment terms and conditions, do not hesitate to contact us. Our employment team is highly skilled and qualified, with years of experience in dealing with the legal requirements set out for employers. For more information and to arrange an appointment with a member of our employment law team, simply complete our online form or call us on 0116 212 100.
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This document is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before action on any of the information given.