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Breach of contract

Employment tribunals have jurisdiction to hear some claims for breach of contract that either arise or are in existence on the termination of employment. The limit on such claims is £25,000 (article 10, Employment Tribunals Extension of Jurisdiction (England and Wales) Order 1994 (SI 1994/1623) and article 10, Employment Tribunals Extension of Jurisdiction (Scotland) Order 1994 (SI 1994/1624)). This is an aggregate upper limit so, if several claims are made relating to the same contract, the total amount recoverable from the employer remains capped at £25,000.

Failure to give statement of particulars of employment

Under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996), employers must provide employees and workers with a written statement of certain terms of their employment. If there is any change to any of the required statutory particulars of employment, the employer must give the employee or worker a written statement containing details of the change at the earliest opportunity and, in any event, no later than one month after the change (section 4, ERA 1996). See Standard documents, Section 1 statement (employee) and Section 1 statement (worker) for template statements of terms. Different rules are applicable to employees whose employment commenced before 6 April 2020; for full details, see Practice note, Section 1 statements.

An employee or worker can only claim for a breach of these rights where they also have a successful substantive claim of a type specified in Schedule 5 to the Employment Act 2002 (EA 2002) (which includes, for example, claims for inducements relating to union membership or activities and collective bargaining, unfair dismissal, unlawful deductions from wages and breach of contract). Where one of the claims specified in Schedule 5 is successful, and at the time the claim was brought the employer was in breach of their duties under sections 1 or 4 of the ERA 1996, the tribunal must make an award equivalent to two weeks' pay. Alternatively, if the tribunal considers it is just and equitable to do so, it can make an award equivalent to four weeks' pay (section 38, EA 2002). In the case of either award, the amount is subject to the statutory limit on a week's pay (for which, see Week's pay).

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