Getting your contracts 2020 fit

A month into the 2020s, many new year resolutions have already fallen by the wayside.   That couch-to-5k plan looks a bit less appealing on chilly January nights, and the charms of kale and quinoa start to wane.   But getting your staff contracts into shape needn't be as painful – and this year it's essential.

A month into the 2020s, many new year resolutions have already fallen by the wayside. That couch-to-5k plan looks a bit less appealing on chilly January nights, and the charms of kale and quinoa start to wane. But getting your staff contracts into shape needn't be as painful – and this year it's essential.

From 6 April this year, all new employees will be entitled to receive a written statement of their terms of employment when their employment starts, rather than within 2 months as they currently do.

The written statement will need to include additional information:

  • The days of the week the worker must work, whether working hours or days may vary (and if so, how);
  • Details of benefits provided by the employer.
  • Details of the probationary period, including its length and any conditions attached to it;
  • Details of any training provided by the employer which the individual must complete and any other training required where the employer does not meet the cost.

    Some information which can currently be provided after the employee starts will now need to be provided on day 1, such as terms related to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month.

    And the following information must be provided in the statement or in another reasonably accessible document (e.g. a handbook):

  • Particulars of any training provided by the employer.
  • Particulars of any paid leave (other than provisions relating to sick pay).

In another significant change, employers which engage workers will now need to provide them with a similar written statement of terms. Although this has always been good practice, it will now be a statutory requirement.

Many employers will already provide some of this information in their contracts, but benefits and paid leave are often dealt with only in outline. The changes appear to envisage greater detail, although the Government has not yet published anticipated guidance for employers. Employers should get to work now to ensure that their template contracts are updated in time for 6 April.  If you get onto it quickly, you might even fit in an extra training run too.

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