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DTI strengthens employees’ right to receive details of their terms and conditions 29 November 2007

28th November 2007

On 1st December the existing right of employees to receive a written statement from their employer setting out their terms and conditions is strengthened.

The written statement is probably the most important document in an employee’s working life. It is often referred to as the contract of employment but is in fact only a summary of the main provisions of the contract. A central purpose of the statement is to let both employers and employees be in no doubt as to the terms which both parties have agreed and to avoid any misunderstandings or disagreements at a later date.

Employers already have a legal duty to provide employees (including part-time employees) with a written statement within 4 weeks of their commencing employment and to inform them of any changes in the relevant terms (also within 4 weeks). From 1st December employees who have not been issued with particulars and who have made a written request to their employer for the missing particulars which the employer has not dealt with within 2 weeks, stand to be awarded between 2 - 4 weeks’ pay by the Employment Tribunal. In addition, the Tribunal will also order the employer to pay the same amount where an employee makes a complaint to the Employment Tribunal about some other matter, such as an unlawful deduction from wages or unfair dismissal, where the employer was in breach of his duty to have issued a written statement at the time the Tribunal proceedings were begun. An employer who has not issued a statement may also be prosecuted by the DTI, the maximum fine being £2,500.

The Manx Industrial Relations Service (MIRS) has repeatedly emphasised the importance of particulars being issued and have commented as follows:

The issue of written statements is most definitely in the interests of both employers and employees. Each week we receive numerous enquiries which could be answered by reference to the written statement. Failure to provide particulars results in employees having a lack of certainty about their terms and conditions and what is expected of them which, in turn, can and often does, escalate into disputes about matters such as holiday entitlement, working hours, overtime, and whether the employer is or is not entitled to make certain deductions from employees’ wages. The absence of a statement can, in particular, lead to real difficulties when staff leave. In our experience the time and effort required to issue a clear and comprehensive statement is repaid many times.

Speaking about the change the Minister for Trade and Industry, David Cretney MHK said:

The right to receive written particulars was the very first employment right that employees were granted and goes back to 1981. The strengthening of the existing right is one of the last provisions of the Employment Act 2006 to come into force so that in some respects we have come full circle. In the intervening period both the economy and our framework of individual employment rights have been transformed. I am pleased to be associated with those changes.

Employers and employees can seek further advice about written statements from either the DTI Employment Inspectorate or from MIRS. Guidance leaflets setting out the information that written statements must contain have been produced by both the DTI and MIRS and can be downloaded from the DTI website or obtained from MIRS.

The relevant contact details are as follows: DTI website www.emplaw.gov.im

DTI Employment Inspectorate - tel. 682386 / e mail inspectors@dti.gov.im

Manx Industrial Relations Office 5th Floor, Victory House Prospect Hill, Douglas IM1 1EQ MIRS

www.mirs.org.im tel.: 672942 / e mail: iro@ir.gov.im

28th November 2007

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