As an employer are you legally obliged to put the contract of employment in writing?

Although there is no legal obligation for the whole contract of employment to be in writing, under s.1(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 you, as an employer are under a statutory obligation to put certain key terms of employment in writing within two months of an individual commencing employment. This is known as a written statement of particulars of employment, and it sets out an outline of the main terms and conditions of the individuals employment.

There are however some terms that can be provided in instalments, so you don’t have to have everything in place on day one – although once you have the documentation in place it’s easy to have a ‘new starter pack’ ready to issue when you need one.

Some particulars do not need to be included in the principal statement and can be delivered in instalments. These are:

  • terms relating to sickness and injury terms if any;
  • any pension terms, remember it’s likely that auto enrolment will probably apply;
  • length of notice to be given by each party;
  • expected length of temporary employment (includes fixed-term and time-limited contracts)
  • collective agreements i.e. whether the business recognises a Trade Union for the purposes of any negotiations; and
  • a further note or document specifying
  1. any disciplinary rules applicable to the employee or referring the employee to a disciplinary procedure;
  2. any procedure applicable to the taking of disciplinary decisions relating to the employee, or to a decision to dismiss the employee, or referring the employee to where this can be found
  1. the person to whom the employee can apply if dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision relating to him or her or any decision to dismiss him or her and the manner in which any such application should be made;
  1. the person to whom the employee can apply for the purpose of seeking resolution to any grievance relating to their employment and the manner in which this should be made; and
  1. where there are further steps, explaining these or referring to the provisions of a document that gives an explanation and is reasonably accessible.

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