Legislation overview

Legislation has an important impact on terms and conditions of employment; this is because legislation implies certain minimum requirements into the employment relationship in addition to what is agreed between the parties themselves. The fundamental starting point when considering the legal relationship between employer and employee is always the contract itself, however the relevant legislation must always be considered as well.

The main piece of legislation which governs many terms and conditions of employment is the Employment Rights Act 1996.

A wide range of other legislation which has an impact on what can be incorporated into the terms and conditions of employment includes:

  • Equality Act 2010 (especially the equal pay provisions)
  • National Minimum Wage Act 1998
  • Pensions Schemes Act 1993
  • Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833)
  • Employment Act 2002
  • Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/3426).

Legislation dealing with zero hours contracts can be found in:

  • The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 which introduced the legal definition of zero hours contracts and inserts new provisions into the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) dealing with exclusivity issues.
  • The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/2021) which came into force on 11 January 2016 and provide the remedies for zero hours workers against employers who include exclusivity clauses in their contracts of employment.
  • The Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Application of Conciliation Provisions) Order 2015 (SI 2015/2054) which also came into force on 11 January 2016 and extends the time limit for bringing a claim where this is necessary to facilitate Acas early conciliation.

Q: Do all employees need written contracts?

Q: Are provisions in staff handbooks part of an employee’s written contract?

Q: What should be in the written statement of employment particulars?

Q: What happens if employers do not provide a written statement of employment particulars?

Q: Which terms can be implied into contracts of employment to supplement the express terms?

Q: What else do employers have to consider in drafting terms and conditions of employment?

Q: Is it legally possible to vary employees' contractual terms?

Q: Does demotion amount to a unilateral variation of contractual terms?

Q: Does an employer need to collectively consult employees if it intends to try and change their terms and conditions by dismissal and re-engagement?

Q: How much notice should employers include in employment contracts?

Q: Can employers avoid payment of bonuses by having a genuinely discretionary bonus scheme?

Q: Can employers include mobility clauses in employment contracts to force employees to relocate?

Q: Can employers include different terms and conditions in employment contracts based on length of service?

Q: What is 'garden leave'?

Q: An employment contract does not contain a garden leave clause. What are the implications of imposing garden leave in such circumstances?

Q: Can an employer make payment in lieu of notice if there is no express contractual provision allowing it to do so?

Q: What types of restrictive covenants should employers include in employment contracts and what happens if the employer breaks the contract?

Q: How far can employers go with respect to the restrictive covenants in employment contracts?

Q: Should employers include both non-solicitation and non-dealing covenants in contracts of employment?

Q: Can employers include a term to recover the cost of the training from an employee who leaves within two years?

Q: What are zero hours contracts and what issues should employers who use these contracts be aware of?

Q: What are illegal contracts in an employment law context and are they enforceable?

Q: Are there any future developments expected in the area of terms and conditions of employment?

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