How to utilise the statement of employment particulars as your benefits shop window
From this April, employers will need to provide day-one information on sick pay arrangements to all new recruits. For employers, this change represents the perfect opportunity to also introduce Total Reward.
Attracting and retaining talent
Finding the best talent – and keeping hold of them – is the thing that keeps most CEOs awake at night. Wage growth hasn’t yet recovered to pre-financial crisis levels and we face an environment of unprecedented low unemployment and high turnover. Employees have become consumers of employers – they will shop around for those that offer the best Total Reward package, the best culture and career opportunities.
Against this backdrop, it might pay to go above and beyond the mandatory requirements to communicate basic employment information. Use this legislative change instead as the catalyst for improved Total Reward communications during the recruitment and onboarding process.
Show employees all the great pension, share save, health and wellbeing benefits to which they have access at this early stage. This can be used to form the start of an ongoing, targeted communication programme to help encourage benefits usage and value: effectively the cornerstone of People Experience – the sum of everything an employee experiences from pre-employment, onboarding and everyday life to exit and retirement.
What are the mandatory requirements?
In response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices (2017), the government published its Good Work Plan on employment rights in December 2018. As a result, legislation has now been passed that makes changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996.
The Taylor Review set out to help provide clarity around employee/worker status in the face of rapidly growing changes to employment status: from zero hours contracts to gig and contract workers.
Currently, all employees have a statutory right to receive a statement of employment particulars – that must contain specific information such as working hours, notice periods etc – once they reach one months’ continuous employment. Employers are also legally required to provide such a document within two months of the start of employment.
The change in legislation, which will be introduced on 6 April 2020, says that the right to be given a written statement is a ‘day-one’ right that is extended to all staff – ‘workers’ as well as employees. Also, the information contained therein is to be widened to include: eligibility for sick leave and pay; details of other types of paid leave (i.e. maternity, paternity); and all other remuneration (not just pay) – for example, vouchers, lunch and employee benefits.
In the case of sickness and absence benefits, the statement will provide details of what the employer provides above and beyond any statutory obligations.
Worker vs employee
At the time of writing, final guidance for employers hadn’t been issued. But obviously the clock is ticking. When it is published, employers will need to grasp the changes and take action quickly.
At present, definitions of ‘worker’ are a little grey. It’s worth referring to the government’s definitions of employment status. But it essentially boils down to whether: individuals have a contract or other arrangement to do work of services personally for a reward (the contract doesn’t have to be written); the reward is for money or a benefit in kind – for example the promise of future work; they have to turn up for work even if they don’t want to; and the employer has to have work for them to do.
Ultimately, guidance may be vague but the imperative is crystal clear: this is a chance to market what you have to offer as an employer. The statement of employment particulars should be considered your shop window. If you want to entice people in, you need to get creative.
The author is Andrew Woolnough, director – HR solutions, Equiniti.
This article is provided by Equiniti.