Contracts of employment
Did you know that you must supply all employees with a written statement of particulars within 2 months of them starting employment? This “statement of particulars” is usually contained within a contract of employment, which may contain other terms such as those concerning confidential information, restrictive covenants and intellectual property.
From 6 April 2020, changes to legislation means that the employer must give an employee a statement of particulars on or before their start date.
What should a statement of particulars contain?
As a bare minimum, the statement should contain the following:-
- the names of the employer and employee
- the date when the employment began
- the date on which the employee’s continuous employment began (as this may be different to the above, if the employee has worked for a group company)
- how pay is calculated and when payment is made, e.g. weekly, monthly, etc
- the notice that the employee is required to give and entitled to receive
- the employee’s job title or a brief description of the work they are employed to do
- the employee’s place of work or, if the employee works at various locations, an indication of that and the address of the employer
- any collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of the employment, including, where the employer is not a party, the names of the parties to the collective agreements
Where relevant, the statement must also contain terms relating to:-
- hours of work
- holidays (including public holidays) and holiday pay. The particulars given must be sufficient to enable the employee’s entitlement, including any accrued entitlement on termination of employment, to be precisely calculated
- sickness absence and sick pay
- pension and pension schemes
The statement should also state whether employment is permanent, temporary or for a fixed term.
If the employer requires the employee to work outside the UK for a period of more than one month, the statement should detail the terms relating to this period.
Finally, the statement must also include a note specifying any:-
- disciplinary rules applicable to the employee (or referring them to a document which contains the same, e.g. a staff handbook)
- procedure applicable to the making/taking of decisions relating to the employee, or to a decision to dismiss the employee (or referring them to a document which contains the same) specifying (by description or otherwise) a person to whom the employee can:-
- appeal a disciplinary decision
- raise a grievance
Types of term in an employment contract
The terms described above are known as “express” contractual terms.
English and Welsh law may also “imply” or “impose” various other terms. This is a complicated subject and not one covered in detail by this note. However, the main “implied” terms to be aware of are as follows (and this list is non-exhaustive):-
- those which arise through custom and practice – this is where the employer has done something for a period of time (usually 13 weeks or more, as a bare minimum) and although the practice is not written down, employees come to expect this treatment. This is a not a “hard and fast” rule, however, such an example may be where an employment contract only allows for payment of statutory sick pay, but the employer has consistently and regularly paid employees their full salary/wage for the first five days of absence in any calendar year;
- trust and confidence – the employer’s implied duty not to act in a way which is calculated to deliberately undermine or destroy the relationship of trust and confidence between the parties. An example of the employer breaching this duty would be the unjustified use of the disciplinary procedure and resulting sanction; and
- fidelity – this is the mirror image of the employer’s duty, which the employee owes the employer. This covers the employee’s obligations to act honestly, not to misuse confidential information, not to compete whilst employed, etc
- business efficacy: a term can be implied where a contract simply will not work using the express terms alone. The implied term must be precise and genuinely necessary (not merely desirable or reasonable) for the contract to work, e.g. a term requiring an employer to continue employing someone on long term sickness, so that they continue to qualify for benefits under a contractual long-term disability scheme
Certain terms may also be incorporated into an employment contract, such as those in a collective agreement.
How can Centurion Legal help you?
We have many years’ experience in drafting bespoke contracts, policies and procedures/staff handbooks.
We also regularly draft directors’ service agreements, which are a specialised type of employment contract, covering more comprehensive terms due to the employee’s seniority.
Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
DISCLAIMER: This document is intended to be a guide to the current law only. It does not constitute legal advice and you are not entitled to rely upon it. You should always take proper legal advice relating to your own situation before acting.Centurion Legal