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During the UK lockdown, the focus in UK employment law was the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and it was easy to lose sight of other important changes in law which came into effect during this time.

Following suggestion made in the Taylor Review in 2017 and the Good Work Plan in 2018, on 6 April 2020 the law changed on information which must be provided to an employee about their employment terms. This is often referred to as a “section 1 statement” after section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which sets out these obligations. Most employers provide section 1 information in the form of an employment contract.

From 6 April 2020, the right to receive a section 1 statement extends to workers as well as employees. It is also a new requirement that the section 1 statement must be provided to employees and workers “not later than the beginning of employment”. Previously the section 1 statement information could be provided within 2 months of the employee commencing employment.

The additional information which must be included in a section 1 statement for employees starting work after 6 April 2020 is

  • The scale or rate of remuneration or the method of calculating remuneration
  • The intervals at which remuneration is paid (weekly, monthly or on a specific date)
  • Terms and conditions relating to hours of work, including:
    • normal working hours
    • the days of the week which the employee or worker is required to work
    • whether the hours and days are variable, and if so the process for varying hours
  • Any paid leave (besides sick leave and holiday) to which the worker is entitled. This includes statutory leave such as statutory maternity leave, paternity leave etc. The statement can refer to a reasonably accessible document (such as a staff handbook) for full details on the types of leave available.
  • Details of any other benefits provided by the employer to the employee which are not already included elsewhere in the statement. This includes non-contractual benefits in addition to contractual benefits and can include cash in kind benefits.
  • Details about a probationary period, including any conditions relating to its duration.
  • Any training entitlement provided by the employer, including whether any part of that training entitlement is mandatory or which the employer will not pay for. The statement can refer to a reasonably accessible document (such as a staff handbook) for full details on the types of leave available.

Failure to comply with the above could result in a claim in the Employment Tribunal for up to 4 weeks basic pay capped at £2,152. At present employees are unable to bring this as a stand-alone claim and therefore it would need to be in conjunction with another claim such as unfair dismissal. There have been calls for the penalties to be increased but at present there are no plans to do so. We would however encourage employers to follow best practice.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.