Editor's message: As well as being common sense, it is a legal requirement to record the main terms of an employment contract in writing. Within two months of a new employee joining the organisation, you need to provide him or her with a written statement of employment particulars. This sets out specified terms that are central to the employment, including on pay, hours and holiday.
The written statement of terms and conditions continues to be relevant as the employment progresses. If there are changes to any of the terms covered by the statement, such as an agreed reduction in hours, you need to remember to confirm this to the employee in writing within one month of the change.
Ultimately, the written statement of terms and conditions of employment is only evidence of what was agreed, rather than the definitive agreement itself, so it is still open to challenge. Keeping on top of what has been agreed with each employee, obtaining the employee’s confirmation of any changes and keeping records up to date can help to avoid disputes further down the line.
Susie Munro, senior employment law editor
Updated to include the increase in the maximum compensation for breach of the written particulars requirements, effective from 6 April 2018.
The Government consults on the recommendations in the "Taylor review of modern working practices" for achieving greater transparency and clarity between workers and employers in the labour market.
A model letter reminding an employee to sign and return his or her written statement of terms and conditions of employment.
A model letter sending an employee his or her written statement of terms and conditions of employment.
A model written statement of terms and conditions of employment for an employee whose contract is to last for one month or more.
A model letter to an employee confirming details of changes to written statement of terms and conditions of employment.
The employment tribunal in this case increased the amount of compensation awarded to an unfairly dismissed employee because of his employer's failure to provide a written statement of terms and conditions of employment or to dismiss him in accordance with the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures (PDF format, 1.58MB) (on the Acas website).
A written statement of employment particulars will not necessarily determine an employee's contractual terms and conditions, as this case demonstrates.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to written statements of terms and conditions of employment.