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Are your employment contracts legally compliant?
As of 6 April 2020, a number of changes were made to Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which governs what should be included in the written statement of terms between an employer and an employee, and when these terms should be given to the employee. The changes apply to all individuals starting on or after 6 April 2020.
A) What are the new requirements?
Individuals are now entitled to receive a written statement of terms of their employment (normally in the form of a contract of employment) no later than the first day of employment.
The statement should confirm whether a probationary period applies to the employment. If so, it should confirm details including the length and conditions of the probationary period. For example, successfully passing the probationary period is subject to completing relevant training, or more generally satisfactory performance.
Working Hours and Days
The statement should include details of what hours and days the worker of employee is required to work, whether those hours are fixed or may vary and how variable hours will be decided. This can be challenging given that many people working in the care sector work varying shifts, if this is the case you should include details of what shifts the employee or worker may be required to work.
The statement should include details of what paid leave is available to employees and workers. This includes all statutory leave, for example sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, parental shared leave or any other special leave which an employer does not necessarily have an obligation to provide payment for but may choose to do so such as if employers provide payment for time off to observe religious days and jury leave. If you offer any contractual sick pay above the statutory entitlement, you should state this.
The statement should include the individual’s training entitlement, any compulsory training, any training that the individual is required to complete but which the employer will not bear the cost. Of course, it is difficult to know all training that will be required throughout the course of employment so we anticipate that a wide definition of “training” will apply and will include such things as a day one induction process.
The statement should include details of any benefit entitlement the individual will have.
B) What should employers do?
Firstly, you should review your current contracts of employment and ensure that they are brought up to date in line with the Section 1 amendments.
You should ensure that all new starters receive a contract on or before their start date. We would recommend preparing this well in advance.
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