Employment & Labor

If you have been working for longer than one month, you should receive a ‘written statement of employment particulars’. Your employer has a duty to give you this within two months of you starting work. It still applies even if you will only be working for them for two months.

The statement sets out in writing some of your main employment terms, known as the 'principal statement'. It will not necessarily cover all of your employment terms and may cover only the ones your employer has a duty to include.

Principal statement

Your employer must provide you with some of your employment details in one single document. This is known as the 'principal statement' and must include:

  • your name and your employer’s name
  • your job title or a brief job description
  • the date when your employment began
  • your pay rate and when you will be paid
  • your hours of work
  • your holiday entitlement
  • where you will be working (if you are based in more than one place it should say this along with your employer’s address)
  • sick pay arrangements
  • notice periods
  • information about disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • any collective agreements that affect your employment terms or conditions
  • pensions and pension schemes
  • if you are not a permanent employee how long your employment is expected to continue, or if you are a fixed term worker the date your employment will end

The letter offering you the job, or your employment contract, could be your principal statement or full written statement. There is no need for your employer to give you a separate written statement if everything is covered in either of these two documents.

Your employer can give you photocopies from your staff handbook or other documents that contain the details of your employment. If they do this you should still receive a written statement telling you what detail the photocopies contain.

If your employer does not offer one of the terms that must be set out in the written statement (such as a pension scheme), they must say that it is not offered in your written statement. Your employer cannot just leave it out.

The written statement must be clear and correct. You cannot be dismissed for asking for a written statement.

Who isn't entitled to a written statement?

You willl not be entitled to a written statement if you are not an employee, for example an independent contractor, freelancer or an agency worker.

Information included in other workplace documents

Most of the required employment details must be set out in the written statement itself. However, there are a number of exceptions:

  • entitlement to sick leave, including any entitlement to sick pay
  • pensions and pension schemes
  • disciplinary rules and disciplinary or dismissal procedures
  • further steps (such as appeal procedures) under the disciplinary, dismissal or grievance procedures

For these details, your employer could point you to another document which you have a reasonable opportunity of reading. For example, a staff handbook made available in the staff room or on the company intranet.

Your employer does not need to set out your notice period in the written statement. Instead, they could refer you to the relevant legislation or to a collective agreement. These are agreements that have been made between an employer and a trade union or staff association. Your employment contract should make it clear which agreements apply to you and who can negotiate on your behalf. These agreements can apply to you even if you are not a member of the trade union or staff association.

Disciplinary and grievance procedures

Your written statement of employment particulars must also include any disciplinary rules, and any disciplinary or dismissal procedures that your employer has. It should also cover who you can apply to (either by name or description, for example job title) if you:

  • are not happy with a disciplinary or dismissal decision
  • have a workplace grievance or problem

Working abroad

If you are normally employed in the China but you will have to work abroad for the same employer for one month or more, your statement must also cover:

  • how long you will be abroad
  • the currency you will be paid in
  • any additional pay or benefits
  • terms relating to your return to the China

You should receive your written statement before you are sent abroad.

What does a written statement look like?

An interactive tool is available on the businesslink website to help your employer create a written statement. This could give you an idea of what your written statement may look like.

What to do if you have a problem

If you have a problem, you should first try to sort out it out with your employer. You could contact Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) for help, or visit the employment useful contacts section for other contacts.

If you have an employee representative, such as a trade union official, they may be able to help. If you cannot resolve the problem with your employer you may be able to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal.

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