What is a written statement?
A written statement, or a written statement of employment particulars, is a summary of the main terms of your employment; this is usually pay and working hours, at the very least.
When must someone receive a written statement?
If you’re legally classed as an employee or a worker, and you started work after 6th April 2020, then you’re entitled to a written statement from your employer. It should be provided to you on or before your first day, regardless of the length of employment.
If you started work before 6th April 2020 and you did not receive a written statement, your right to ask for one depends on whether you’re classed as an employee or a worker. Provided that they still work for the employer and are within 3 months of any leaving date, employees can request written statements from their employer that meet the new regulations, and they must be given one. A worker can request one too, but the employer is not obligated to provide one.
What makes someone an employee?
Included in the elements that define an employee is the requirement to work consistently unless on leave, holiday entitlement, grievance procedures in place, and work at a time and place set by the employer using provided materials.
What makes someone a worker?
If your work for the employer is casual or has no structured pattern, you’re not offered regular or guaranteed hours, and/or don’t have much obligation to be available for work (though there is if you’ve agreed to it), you’re likely to be a worker, not an employee.
What must be included in a written statement?
The following must all be included in a written statement:
- The name of the employer
- The address of the employer
- The name of the employee or worker
- The date that work commenced
- The start date of continuous employment
- The employee or worker’s job title, or at least a brief description of the job
- The working hours that the employee or worker must keep to, including which days
- The place of work that the employee or worker will carry out their job at
- The pay an employee or worker will receive and when they will receive it
- Sick pay and leave entitlement, or where to find details of it
- Holiday entitlement, which must include how it’s calculated if the employee or worker leaves
- Details of other paid leave, or where to find details of it
- Any contractual benefits supplied by the employer
- Any non-contractual benefits – the employer’s supply of these is at their discretion
- The employee or worker’s notice period
- For temporary or fixed term roles, details of how long the job is expected to last
- The length and conditions of any probation period
- Terms that apply to any work required abroad
- Any compulsory training, paid for by either the employer or the employee or worker
Changing written terms
Your written statement must be updated if there are any changes made to your employment terms within one month of the change happening. You should be notified in writing by either letter or email.
What are employment contracts?
An employment contract, or a contract of service, is a legally binding agreement between an employer or an employee, which can be agreed verbally, or in writing. An employee’s conduct can also agree an employment contract, whereby parts of the contract are confirmed by an employee showing they’ve read and understood what’s detailed within it.
What is the difference between an employment contract and a written statement?
A written statement is a document that must, by law, be provided to those classed as employees or workers, and should include the main terms of employment, such as pay and place of work. However, an employment contract is a document that is broader than the written statement, and can include clauses that a written statement doesn’t require, such as confidentiality, social media and GDPR policies.
When does an employment contract begin?
An employment contract is considered to have begun when the employee starts work, even if the employer has yet to provide a written statement or put any other parts of the employment contract in writing.
What types of terms are in an employment contract?
These are things that are considered obvious, and therefore don’t need to be expressly set out in writing. Theft from your employer is a good example of something that doesn’t need to be confirmed in writing – it should be obvious that this wouldn’t be tolerated. However, it should be made clear how these terms will be dealt with if they occur.
These terms come from employment law, such as statutory redundancy entitlement for those eligible. In short, the employer must provide these terms by law, and therefore they do not need to always be put in writing.
Custom and practice
These are again terms that do not need to be written down if they concern an element of a company or industry that is well known or ‘notorious’, as well as reasonable and certain, such as an annual bonus payment. Employers should make any conditions of these terms clear, however, such as dependency on the businesses’ financial performance, in the example of the annual bonus.
If an employer would like to prevent an employee from working for anyone else during their employment, an exclusivity clause can be written into an employment contract to make this possible.
Sometimes referred to as variation clauses, flexibility clauses allow employers to change contract terms depending on the needs of the business. For example, the clause may make it possible for the employer to change the employees’ working hours, but the clause could also state that this can only be within the businesses’ opening hours.
Employer and employee duties
Duties of care, trust and confidence, and fidelity are all examples of an employer or an employee duty; these cannot be overwritten by express terms, and are crucial to an effective working relationship between both parties.
What services do we offer?
Here at 365 Employment Law, we’re employment contract solicitors with years of experience in the world of employment law; understanding employment contracts is an area of our expertise. We’re able to review an employment contract that you have been given, and advise you on whether the terms within it are in your best interests, and in line with the law.
You can then request changes if necessary based on the professional advice that you’ve been able to obtain through us.
Occasions on which you may need our help include:
Taking a new role
A brand new employer means a brand new employment contract. As every contract varies, you may need an expert eye to help you get to grips with what it may mean for you in the future.
Leaving an old role
You want your exit to be as smooth and amicable as possible. Therefore, understanding the terms of termination, and any restrictions or covenants, is vital to protecting both your relationship with your old employer, and your peace of mind going forward.
Changes to your employment contract
Sometimes, the terms of your employment may need to change, and you’ll want to know what these changes mean for you; we can help break it down.
What stages of employment can we help with?
Commencement of employment
Being offered a new role is an exciting time, but it’s also time to make sure everything is in order in case there are issues down the road. By getting professional advice at this stage, you’re able to make sure that the contract is a true reflection of the package you were offered and have the confidence to negotiate any changes.
Restrictive covenants and post-termination restrictions
There is a chance that your employer may want to limit the work you do following your exit from their company if there is a possibility that you may take business away from them, or if you are in possession of confidential information.
Therefore, non-compete clauses may be written into your contract to stop you from working with a competitor or setting yourself up in competition with your employer after your employment has ceased. We’re on hand to ensure those restrictions are legal, and that you understand them properly.
Changes to an existing contract
If your contract is reviewed during your employment and new terms or clauses added, an employment contract lawyer such as 365 Employment Law can ensure that they’re legal, in your best interests, and that you grasp their implications.
What should be contained in an employment contract
There are some things that an employment contract must contain by law. Those things are:
- The name and address of the employer, and the employee
- The date employment commences
- The date that the contract will apply from
- Any continuous service dates
- For fixed term or temporary contracts, it should contain the date that the employment is expected to end
- The employees job title
- Where the employee will work
- Any requirements to work overseas
- The contracted hours of work
- When the employee will be paid and by what method
- The employee’s holiday entitlement
- Policies regarding sickness absence and associated pay
- The employee’s notice period
- The pension arrangements
- Disciplinary and grievance procedures (or where to find these)
- Collective agreements
You will likely find additional clauses contained within the employment contract that tailor it to the employer and the employees’ position within the company, such as confidentiality, health and safety, and non-compete clauses.
Who can we help?
The assistance we can give when it comes with employment contracts isn’t limited to certain professions, but the roles in which we see the most need for advice are as follows:
- Senior directors
- Board members
What are some key employment contract clauses?
If your contract includes a clause around confidentiality, it will generally mean agreeing to strict discretion (to the point of secrecy) when it comes to things like client, customer and supplier details, as well as anything a competitor may be interested to know.
IP and secrets
Similarly to confidentiality, clauses around intellectual property and trade secrets may also mean secrecy is legally enforceable. It may also mean that anything created by the employee during employment remains the property of the employer.
The employer may wish to protect themselves from the threat an employee may post when they leave, such as setting up a rival company, or going to work for a competitor. Restrictions are legally enforceable but must be limited to a geographic area within which your existing employer competes, and only set for a specific amount of time (usually no longer than six months).
A garden leave clause suggests that the employer is able to exclude the employee from the business whilst the employer still fulfils their contractual obligations.
Pay In Lieu of Notice (PILON) means paying the employee for work they would have completed during a notice period, but without the employee having to serve it. This is a way that employers are able to enforce non-compete clauses without financial implications for the employee.
Employment contract disputes
No matter what stage of employment you’re at, you may find yourself disputing an existing or new clause in your contract, based on how it may affect you in the future, or a perceived breach that has happened already. In this instance, we would strongly recommend obtaining expert advice from an employment law solicitor, who can advise you not only on whether it’s something that you can legally dispute, and how to move forward if it is.
Employment contract disputes are something we help employees with across Sussex, in areas including Worthing, Brighton, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, and Chichester.
Why choose 365 Employment Law?
As a Sussex based work contract solicitor, 365 Employment Law has over 20 years of experience in all areas of employment law, making us a reliable choice when you need advice on your employment contract. We operate across the county in areas such as Worthing, Brighton and Hove, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Chichester, so Sussex businesses and employees are never far from professional advice from a solicitor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does an employer have to provide me with a contract?
There is no obligation for an employer to provide a contract, but they must provide you with a written statement of employment particulars, which set out the terms of your employment.
Does an employment contract have to be in writing?
No, an agreement can be verbal or written, but we would strongly advise getting the vital information in writing from a new employer.
How does change of ownership affect employment contracts?
How the company you work for is taken over will determine how it affects you; there will be a greater impact if another business buys your employer’s assets, as opposed to simply buying large shares. If the company you work for is undergoing a change of ownership, seek advice from experts like us.
Can an employer make changes to my contract?
Under certain circumstances, yes they can, but it must be done with your agreement. It’s worth checking with a work contract lawyer that these changes are legal, or should be subject to negotiation.
What is the difference between an employment contract and a written statement?
A written statement is a document that includes the main terms of an employee or worker’s employment, such as pay and place of work. It’s required by law on or before an employee or worker’s first day.
However, an employment contract is a broader document, which can include clauses such as confidentiality and policy information that a written statement doesn’t need by law.