As an employer, you have a responsibility to provide your employees with a written statement of terms and conditions of employment once they have completed two months service.  A written statement is a legally binding agreement between the employer and employee which outlines the conditions for the role, including pay, working hours, holiday entitlement etc and failure to issue one may see you taken to an employment tribunal, where compensation of up to 4 weeks’ pay (subject to a statutory cap) may be awarded.

The conclusions of a recent tribunal case will signal a change which means that from 6th April 2020, new employees will have the right to written statements, regardless of how long they will be working.

In a recent case involving a member of waiting staff at an hotel, an employee was successful in an automatic unfair dismissal claim, part of which included a claim that she was not issued with a payslip or a statement of employment. The original tribunal decided that she was not entitled to compensation for the failure to provide written terms, as she was only employed for 6 weeks and that employers have up to two months to provide employees with a written statement.

However, this decision was overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal, who interpreted that the right to a statement still exists, even if the person’s employment ends before the 2 months and awarded the claimant compensation.

Whilst there is a current exception under the Employment Rights Act for employee’s with less than one month’s service, this is due to be repealed in April 2020, therefore employers with short term contracts or non-standardised HR procedures may be well advised to start issuing written terms to all employees from day one, ahead of these changes becoming law.

Here at Smith Cooper, we work alongside both large and small businesses, providing expert HR consultancy and solutions that work for them. We understand that not all businesses can justify the cost of a permanent HR function, but by working with us, may still access professional employment support.

With a wealth of experience across a wide range of business sectors, coupled with our passion for what we do, we bring pragmatic, cost-effective HR consultancy to our clients.

If you have any queries regarding written statements, or any other aspect of HR, please get in touch with Vivienne Tolley, Director of HR Services at Smith Cooper.