The European Union Regulations on Transparent & Predictable Working Conditions came into effect in December 2022 aiming to improve the working conditions of employees by promoting more predictable and transparent employment.
Due to the time of year, the passing of these Regulations into legislation was broadly unnoticed although they include some important miscellaneous provisions relating to Terms & Conditions of Employment, probation and the application of secondary employment clauses.
While a number of the changes affect the ‘Day 5 Statement’ introduced in the Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2018, many employers already practice the policy of issuing a full Statement of Terms and Conditions in the first week of employment eliminating the need for both documents.
The key changes include:
Statements of Terms & Conditions of Employment
- Employment must be issued within one month (previously two months)
- Additional information regarding work patterns for employees whose hours are unpredictable.
- Details of any training to be provided which must be free and during paid working time.
The ‘Day 5’ Statement now requires additional information to be provided within the first week of employment:
- Terms & Conditions relating to hours of work including overtime
- Details of any probationary period
- Commencement date
- Title, grade, nature and category or description of work
- Place of work or if place of work likely to vary
Probationary periods shall not exceed 6 months and can only be extended in exceptional circumstances (to a maximum of 12 months) in the interests of the employee or in cases of extended absence. Greater focus on support, feedback and training is now essential throughout the 6 month period before the probation ends. In any case employers need to be aware of additional protections afforded once an employee has 12 months service and be mindful that any actions to be taken must be taken well in advance of 12 months to allow for Notice periods and avoid claims under the Unfair Dismissals Act.
Secondary or Parallel Employment:
This provision recognises the increase of the gig economy where employees may have more than one employment. The Regulations provide that employers cannot prohibit employees from taking up a second or multiple employments unless the restriction is based on objective grounds. In this regard employers must specify those objective grounds which could for example be health & safety reasons, conflict of interest or confidentiality . In the past a general clause on secondary employment was common in employment contracts but must now be proportionate and justified with a specific reason.
Changes to Terms of Employment
Any changes to the Terms of Employment must be notified to the employee no later than the day of the change, (previously these could be notified within a month of the change)
Notice of Hours Required
Employees now have the right to refuse work where they are given less than 24 hours notice and cannot be treated adversely as a result of their refusal.
Employer Actions Required:
- Update Contract templates, Statements of Terms & Conditions and Day 5 Statements to reflect the additional information.
- Implement proactive policies around the managing of probation within the first 6 months of employment so that an informed decision can be made within the legal 6 month period.
- Ensure that Secondary Employment Clause are objectively justified in Contracts.