WHAT IS A WRITTEN STATEMENT?
A written statement is a summary in writing of an employee’s main particulars of employment. It is not itself a contract of employment but is evidence of the contract of employment.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO A WRITTEN STATEMENT?
All employees who have been in employment with the employer for at least one month. An employee who is dissatisfied because no written particulars have been supplied or because they are incomplete can refer the matter to an employment tribunal. Written statements help to avoid misunderstanding and disputes about terms and conditions of employment, so it is a good idea to give one to all employees whether they qualify for one or not.
It is a statutory right for an employee to be given a written statement. Dismissal of an employee for seeking to enforce this right, either by making a reference to an employment tribunal or by alleging that the employer has infringed the rights, is unlawful. An employee dismissed in these circumstances is entitled to make a complaint of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal, regardless of age or length of service.
THERE ARE NOW NO EXEMPTIONS FOR SMALL EMPLOYERS WITH LESS THAN 20 EMPLOYEES. ALL EMPLOYERS MUST ISSUE THEIR EMPLOYEES WITH SUCH A STATEMENT.
WHAT INFORMATION MUST THE WRITTEN STATEMENT INCLUDE
A written statement must include the following:-
The names of the employer and employee
The date when employment (and period of continuous employment) began
Remuneration and the intervals at which it is to be paid
Hours of work
Job title or a brief job description
Either the place of work or, if the employee is required to work in more than one location,
an indication of this and of the employer’s address
Entitlement to sick leave, including any entitlement to sick pay
Pensions and pension schemes
The entitlement of employer and employee to notice of termination
Where the contract is not permanent, the period for which the employment is expected
to continue or, if it is for a fixed term, the date when it is to end
Details of the existence of any relevant collective agreements which directly affect the
terms and conditions of the worker’s employment – including, where the employer is not
a party, the persons by whom they were made.
There are additional requirements for employees who normally work in the UK but who will be required to work abroad for more than one month.
Where there are no particulars to be given for one of the items (for example where there is no pension entitlement) this must be indicated.
The statement must also include a note giving certain details of the employer’s disciplinary and grievance procedures and stating whether or not a pensions contracting out certificate is in force for the employment in question.
HOW SHOULD A WRITTEN STATEMENT BE DRAFTED?
The first seven particulars on the above list must be included in a single document – the principal statement. Particulars of sick leave, pensions, disciplinary and grievance rules may be given by reference to some other document which the employee has reasonable opportunities of reading in the course of his/her employment or which is reasonably accessible to him/her in some other way.
WHEN SHOULD EMPLOYERS NOTIFY CHANGES TO EMPLOYEE’S CONTRACTS?
In writing within one month of the change.
EMPLOYERS BEWARE -?PENALTIES FOR NON COMPLIANCE
The Employment Act 2002 introduced new penalties for employers who fail to provide a written statement or provide an incomplete statement.
Prior to this, such non-compliance was punished with no more than a slap on the wrist and was without financial penalty.
However, such claims by aggrieved employees must be combined with some other claim such as unfair dismissal or unlawful deduction from wages otherwise the Tribunal do not have jurisdiction to consider it. In other words, it is not a free-standing claim.
Tribunals can award between two weeks and four weeks pay (capped at the normal maximum as in the case of the normal basic award/statutory redundancy payments) for such claims.
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