Employment Contracts and Policies - what you need to know.

Jun 11, 2024


Did you know it’s a legal requirement to give your employees an employment contract by day one of employment? And that alongside the contract of employment you must have certain policies documented and available to employees?


Here’s what you need to know…

The current ‘day one obligations’ actually came into effect on 6 April 2020, under The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018. Prior to this update to the legislation, under the Employment Rights Act 1996, employers had up to two months from the start date of employment to provide employees with a written statement of employment particulars (an employment contract).

Now, employers are legally required to provide all employees or workers with a contract, on or before day one of employment, which includes the following terms:

  • The employee’s and the employer’s name
  • A job title or description of duties
  • A start date (including any continuous service) and expected duration of employment
  • Salary details – how much and how often the employee will get paid
  • Full working pattern including hours, days and any potential variation to hours
  • Holiday entitlement and how this will be paid
  • Location of work and any potential variation to place of work
  • Details of any probationary period including conditions and duration
  • Notice periods for either party to terminate, and conditions of giving notice
  • Sick pay and procedures
  • Details of other paid leave such as maternity, paternity, shared parental leave
  • A full list of all employee benefits
  • Details of any mandatory training the employee will have to undertake, and whether or not the employer will pay for this training
  • Additional details about any requirement for the employee to work outside of the UK for more than one month.

Employers are also required to provide employees with further written information within two months of employment commencing. This must include:

  • Details of pension and pension schemes
  • Any information regarding collective agreements
  • Full disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • Details of any non-mandatory training provided by the employer.

Beyond these legal requirements there are a number of other clauses and provisions which you should have in your contracts of employment to protect your business and properly manage the employment relationship. You should have comprehensive clauses covering Confidential Information, Intellectual Property and Restrictive Covenants, to minimise the risk of your employees stealing your ideas or your clients, or otherwise acting against the interests of your business.


Failure to provide

If an employer fails to provide an employment contract and the additional polices as outlined above, then they will breach the statutory rights of the employee. The employee will then be entitled to make a referral to an Employment Tribunal to resolve the issue, which can be costly to the employer in terms of time and money (in consultancy or legal fees to respond to the tribunal claim), and the employee can also apply for compensation/damages of up to four weeks’ pay.


Additional legal requirements for employers

Employers’ obligations are not limited to those outlined in The Employment Rights […] Regulations 2018. In order for employers to comply with privacy laws and regulations, specifically the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), employers are required to notify employees about what information you collect on your employees, how it is stored, used and shared in the course of their employment. The best way to do this is by having a Privacy Notice & Policy for Employee Data which is issued to employees when they commence employment.

Employers also have legal obligations regarding the health and safety of employees. Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 all employers must have a policy on health and safety and ensure that all employees are aware of the policy. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 goes further to require that where employers have five or more employees, the policy must be documented and provided to all employees. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that irrespective of how many employees you have it is best practice to have a proper health and safety policy documented for your business.


What should employers do?

The obvious answer is as a minimum to meet your legal obligations under the various relevant legislation, as outlined above. But our advice is to make sure you have a solid employment contract complete with supporting policies and procedures which cover all of your obligations and all terms of employment, ready to issue prior to your employees commencing employment. This is the most efficient approach from an administrative perspective, and the safest approach as it removes the need to provide additional information in the two month window. It is also the best practice approach to employing and onboarding people as your employees will have all details relating to their terms of employment from day one, minimising the risk of any ambiguity or surprises after they have commenced employment.


To help you achieve compliance, meet your legal obligations and protect your business, we are bringing you a special offer until the end of June. You can get one of our comprehensive employment contract templates for just £47 (usually £147 each) by using code CONTRACT47 at the checkout. And, if you also want the supporting HR Policies to go with your new contract, you can add our Employment Policy Bundle at the checkout for just £52 (usually £197). Which means you can get a new contract of employment, with all necessary policies for just £99!

For full details of this promotion click here.


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