“Day 1” Written Statements

Day 1 Written Statements of Employment Particulars come into force on 6th April 2020.  Can employers comply with the new legislation whilst also achieving a useful Return on Investment (ROI)?

On the 6th April 2020 a new employment requirement comes into force.  From this date all new workers will be entitled to a written statement of employment particulars on (or before) the first day of employment.

For many larger organisations this might seem like a relatively minor tweak to the existing rules, which already require a similar document to be provided within two months of employment commencing.  Yet the reality is that there a number of differences between the two statements, with the newer version designed to be significantly more comprehensive in several areas.  For a useful guide to the changes please see this summary provided by Matt Jenkin of Moorcrofts Corporate Law.

Why the change?

The new written statements are required for all new workers (a broader definition than “employee”) and arise as part of the recommendations made in the Taylor Review of 2017, and The Good Work Plan in 2018.  Both these publications have been rather overshadowed in the last few years by the on-going debate regarding the UK’s relationship with the European Union, so employers could easily be forgiven for being unaware of – and indeed unprepared for – the onset of the new requirements.

Yet the deadline is now just over a month away, so employers would be well advised to start work towards compliance with this new requirement with the minimum of delay.

The new statements and Employee Benefits (EB)

One of the key features of the new document is the inclusion of all contractual remuneration and benefits provided* to the new worker.  This is a significant change, and for those employers with less sophisticated HR databases and/or Employee Benefits platforms gathering and publishing this data for each worker might present a tangible logistical challenge.

The day 1 statements also require eligibility for sick-leave and sick-pay to be clearly set-out.  This is another area that might cross into the area of EB provision, particularly where Group Income Protection is on offer to some or all employees and designed to dovetail with company sick-pay provision. 

Employers also need to be very careful that they don’t inadvertently suggest that a non-contractual Employee Benefit is actually a contractual one.  So a simple “cut-and-paste” from a staff handbook, company intranet, or insurer literature is probably not a recommended solution for such a potentially important document.** 

Many employers will have at least some work to do here, and for some the collation, formatting, and issuing of the statements may prove a genuine challenge in the short timeframe remaining.    

Going further still?

Yet looking beyond the initial introduction of the statement on 6th April, should employers be looking to exceed the minimum requirements, and in the process generate a useful Return on Investment (ROI)? 

After all, employers will need to spend the time and expense setting up the new system for joiners anyway, so why not go just that little bit further and include existing employees too?  Likewise, with careful wording, it may be possible to include non-contractual benefits as a useful addendum to the contractual ones too.  In this way employers can try and ensure that every employee really understands and appreciates those company-supported benefits. 

Ultimately such an approach will turn yet another compliance issue into something far more useful for both employer and employee alike.

Automate It!

Finally, but certainly not least, employers should aim to automate the statement production process.  This should provide a more robust and cost-effective route to ensure compliance and effective communication of the facts and benefits presented.

Much will depend on what systems are already in place, but part of this process might well be the use of online Employee Benefits platforms, which often already feature tools such as Total Reward Statements which bring together in one document (or screen) all the Employee Benefits provided to an employee, together with the value of each component of the offering too.

So there is much for employers to consider here, and not much time in which to do so.  Early action is therefore strongly suggested.

Should you require and further information on the above topics please contact your usual Howden Consultant, or visit our website for further details and contact options.

Published 19/02/20 

*Pension scheme terms can be provided up to 2 months after employment starting.

**This is only a broad summary of the issues involved.  For more detailed information please speak to your usual Employment Law adviser. 

Steve Herbert

Steve is Head of Benefits Strategy, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, and is an award-winning thought leader on Pensions, Employee Benefits, and Human Resources issues. He is occasionally accused of making Employee Benefits interesting.

Steve Herbert