Employers are required by law to give employees written particulars of the main terms and conditions of employment. Failure to do so could result in a complaint to an employment tribunal. Additional and separate rules also apply to itemised pay statements.Contracts of employment
All workers directly employed by an employer will have contracts of employment. A contract of employment – which can be written, oral or implied – commits the employer and employee to certain mutual obligations. Generally, a contract of employment will be drawn up beforehand. But in the absence of any such agreement, the contract will come into existence when the employee starts work.
It is clearly in the interests of both the employer and employees that as many terms and conditions as possible are written down and agreed. This will help to avoid disagreements in the future.
Many terms and conditions of employment can be written down and there is a legal requirement for an employer to give an employee, who is taken on for one month or more, a written statement setting out the main particulars.
All employers, however small, must provide the specified written particulars. There is only one flexibility allowed for employers with fewer than 20 employees regarding the details of disciplinary rules and grievance procedures - this is explained below.
Virtually all employees are entitled to specified written particulars. All employees who are taken on for a month or longer must be given the statement automatically. Only those employed before 30 November 1993 must request a statement before becoming entitled to it.
Excluded employees are:
An employee must be given the statement within two months of starting work. If an employee is required to work abroad for longer than a month before then, the written statement must be given before the employee goes abroad.
The following information must be contained in the written statement:
State pensions and discipline
In addition, the written statement must include a note:
Where an employee is normally employed within the UK but sent to work abroad for longer than a month, the employer must provide a written statement of:
Reference to documents
Generally, the specified information must be contained in the written statement itself. In limited circumstances, the statement can, however, refer the employee to other documents for details of:
The documents to which the employee is referred must be easily accessible to the employee. Similarly, for details of notice periods, the employee can be referred to the law or an easily accessible collective agreement.
Changes to particularsEmployees must be given notification about any changes that are made to written particulars as soon as possible and no later than one month after they are made. Notification must be in writing but need not be by personalised letter: it is sufficient, for example, to give each employee a photocopy of a notice detailing the change.
In most cases the change must be set out explicitly in the written notice. In the case of sick leave and pay, pensions, and disciplinary rules, however, the notice may refer to other documents, provided these are easily accessible. Similarly, employees may be referred to the law or a collective agreement when changes are made to notice periods.
Change of employer
In normally circumstances, where there is a change of employer, employees must be given a new and full written statement of particulars within two months of the change.
However, if only the name of the employer changes – without any change in the identity of the employer – or if the identify changes but the employee's continuity of employment is maintained (for example, in transfer of undertakings) a new statement is not required. In these cases employees must still be given written notification of the change.
Complaints and questionsEmployees who think that they have not been given a written statement of particulars, or notification of changes, may refer the matter to an employment tribunal. Ex-employees can take the same course of action up to three months after the end of their employment.
If a question arises about the accuracy or sufficiency of the particulars, either the employee or the employer may refer the question to an employment tribunal.
It is unlawful to dismiss an employee who tries to enforce an entitlement, which the employee thinks he or she has, to written particulars. An employee sacked for this reason may make a complaint of unfair dismissal to an industrial tribunal, regardless of length of service.