This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Does This HR Policy Violate the Employment Rights Act 1996?

Question from g, Does This HR Policy Violate the Employment Rights Act 1996?

Answer from AI:

When assessing whether a policy introduced by HR violates the Employment Rights Act 1996, especially if it wasn’t included in the employment contracts and was implemented without consent or consultation, several factors need to be considered. The policy in question relates to the submission and payment of timesheets for additional hours worked. It’s crucial to understand the legal framework surrounding employment contracts, changes to employment terms, and the rights of employees under UK law.

Understanding the Employment Rights Act 1996

The Employment Rights Act 1996 is a comprehensive piece of legislation that provides various protections for employees, including but not limited to, terms of employment, unfair dismissal, and payment of wages. Any changes to the terms and conditions of employment typically require the employee’s consent and, in some cases, consultation.

Key Considerations for the Timesheet Policy

1. Changes to Employment Terms: Employers are generally required to consult with employees or their representatives (like trade unions) before making significant changes to employment terms. This includes changes to how wages are processed or conditions related to payment for additional hours worked.

2. Payment for Work Done: Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, employees have the right to be paid for the work they have done. Any policy that potentially infringes on this right, such as refusing payment for work based on the timing of timesheet submission, could be seen as violating the Act.

3. Reasonableness and Fairness: Employment law in the UK also hinges on principles of reasonableness and fairness. A policy that allows an employer unilateral discretion to decide what is “reasonable” without clear guidelines may be challenged for being unfair or unreasonable.

Steps to Take

If you believe this new policy violates your rights under the Employment Rights Act 1996, consider the following steps:

  1. Review Your Contract: Check your employment contract and any related documents (like employee handbooks) to see if there are existing terms related to timesheet submission and payment for additional hours worked.
  2. Seek Clarification: Request a clear, written explanation of the policy from HR, including how it aligns with existing contractual terms and the rationale behind the specific timeframes and conditions.
  3. Consult a Legal Professional: For personalized advice, it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional who specializes in employment law. They can provide guidance on your rights and potential next steps.
  4. Consider Formal Dispute Resolution: If the issue cannot be resolved internally, you may need to consider formal dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation or, as a last resort, legal action.


While the intention to pay all claims within a “reasonable” time is noted, the ambiguity of what constitutes “reasonable” and the lack of consultation or consent in implementing this policy raise concerns under the Employment Rights Act 1996. It’s important to remember that specific advice tailored to your situation can only be provided by a legal professional. For more information on employment rights and resolving disputes, you can visit the UK Government’s employment pages or the ACAS website for guidance and support.

Note: This information is intended as a general guide and should not be taken as specific legal advice.

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