Employers must give written statements setting out terms and conditions of employment to employees who have worked for them for one month or more – even if they leave before working two complete months, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled.

In Stefanko and others v Maritime Hotel Ltd the claimants were employed as waiting staff but were treated poorly. They were dismissed after complaining about shortfalls in their wages, falsification of their wage slips and late payment.

Writing for Lexology, Joanne Moseley, associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell LLP, explained that all three of the claimants successfully complained they had been automatically unfairly dismissed because they had asserted a statutory right. However, only two of the staff who had worked for more than two months received four weeks’ pay as compensation for not receiving a ‘section 1’ statement.

“The tribunal said that the waitress who had worked for only six weeks was not entitled to compensation even though she hadn’t received a statement because the employer had two months to provide this,” explained Moseley.

The claimant appealed the decision.

Although the Employment Rights Act provides that a written statement must be provided within two months from the date the employee starts work, the EAT overruled this and said the waitress should be compensated because she did not receive a section 1 statement.

Currently only employees have the right to receive a section 1 statement. However, this is set to change following the launch of the government’s Good Work Plan, which radically overhauls workers’ rights.

“From 2020 you will have to provide information about the terms and conditions of employment to all your staff (including workers) from day one of their employment. There will be no ‘grace’ period,” explains Moseley.

“Even before these changes take place, it is good practice to provide written particulars as soon as possible as this protects both you and your staff. As the EAT put it , this will ‘minimise the risk of ambiguity or misunderstanding of the terms agreed that form the contractual basis of the employment relationship’.”

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