Whilst everyone has been busy dealing with the COVID-19 crisis some other (yes, really) important changes to employment law have quietly slipped into being. We have all been focussed on homeworking, pay entitlements and the Job Retention / Furlough Scheme, and in the background, without any of the usual alerts and fanfare, the annual April employment law changes have taken effect.
If you have a moment of calm (unlikely we appreciate but here’s hoping) it may be prudent to take a quick peak at your contract (employment and consultant) templates to ensure that any new hires (and re-hires – whether for furloughing purposes or otherwise) are provided with the appropriate mandatory written information in good time.
As flagged in our January briefing, whilst employers previously had 8 weeks from the employee’s start date to ensure that the contractual information met the statutory requirements, this information must now be provided to employees – as well as workers – in writing on or before their first day of employment or engagement. These new requirements update the information previously required under s1 Employment Rights Act 1996, and include the requirement to provide information relating to:
- normal working hours, their required days of work and whether hours or days may be variable;
- any other paid leave (such as maternity and parental), in addition to holiday and sick pay;
- probationary periods; and
- training entitlements and specifically who will bear the cost of mandatory courses.
You may already be compliant with the new requirements as part of your existing practices, but many employers will now need to undertake a review of their template employment contracts. The information required is very specific, must be provided on or before the start date in order to be compliant.
If you would like us to take that “quick peak” for you, please do reach out to your usual Magrath Sheldrick contact with a copy of your templates. We’ll take a look, confirm whether they are compliant and, where appropriate, let you know the cost of any update – which sometimes may just be inserting some additional wording.