A Guide to Written Statements of Employment

When you first start a job, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions of your employment. Usually, your job terms are outlined in a written statement of employment. In this guide, we will explain what you need to know about this document.

What is a Written Statement of Employment and Who is it For?

A written statement of employment is a formal document that outlines the key terms and conditions of employment such as pay and working hours. It’s a reference point for both employers and employees to provide clarity and mutual understanding of the employment relationship.

This document is required for employees of all levels, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and fixed-term positions. It’s normally provided at the start of employment.

Why is a Written Statement Important?

A written statement is important for both employees and employers mainly due to its role in providing clarity and establishing legal protection.

For employees, having a written record of their employment terms ensures they understand their rights, responsibilities, and benefits from the start. This therefore helps prevent any misunderstandings about the expectations of their role.

For employers, a written statement is a clear guidance on managing and meeting the expectations of their workforce which enhances the organisation and harmony of the workplace.

When it comes to legal action, a written statement also acts as a binding document that protects both employers and employees if a dispute arises. For example, disagreements over job duties, salary, or working conditions.

Who Needs a Written Statement?

Both employers and employees including workers need a written statement so they have a clear understanding of the terms of employment. Employers are legally required to provide this document to every employee and worker, regardless of the duration of their employment on or before the individual’s first day of work.

Everything in this document must also follow the Employment Rights Act 1996 which mandates that all details in the written statement must comply with the law to protect workers’ rights. For example, it ensures that someone over the age of 22 can be paid less than minimum wage as this is against the law.

What’s Included in a Written Statement?

A written statement of employment usually includes details that clarify the terms and conditions of employment. These details are:

  • Personal information such as employee name, job title, and start date.
  • Job description including their roles and responsibilities
  • Employment terms including the type of employment, whether it’s permanent or temporary for example
  • Information on salary and benefits including how often they will be paid, health insurance, pension information, and commissions
  • The expected working hours including flexibility agreements and shift patterns
  • Holiday entitlement and how it’s calculated if a worker or employee leaves
  • Sick leave and pay
  • The duration of any probationary period
  • The notice period required by both employer and employee in case of termination or resignation
  • An outline of any disciplinary and grievance procedures

Although this is a list of the key details, more could be included. This ensures clarity, fairness, and legal compliance in the employment relationship.

What If a Change is Needed in the Written Terms?

If changes are made to an employee’s main employment terms, the employer is legally required to put these changes in writing like a letter or email. This practice ensures clarity and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings or disputes.

While updating the written statement of employment is optional for the employer, they must legally provide written documentation of the changes within one month of the change being implemented.

What Happens If I Haven’t Received My Written Statement?

If you haven’t received your written statement since starting your role, begin by addressing the issue informally with your employer. If this approach does not lead to a resolution, you may need to escalate the matter by filing a formal complaint. Should the issue remain unresolved, you have the option to take your case to an employment tribunal, where you may be entitled to compensation.

Is a Written Statement Different to an Employment Contract?

Although similar, a written statement and an employment contract are different. A written statement of employment is a document that includes essential terms like job title, pay, and working hours. An employment contract, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive agreement that goes beyond the statutory requirements. it details specific duties, responsibilities, and other negotiated terms.


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