Contracts of Employment Act 1963 - Act's Provisions

Act's Provisions

In its final form, the Act required a weekly hours threshold of 21 hours before an employee would fall within its protective sphere. According to William Whitlaw MP, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Labour, this was intended to exclude "people with spare-time occupations and those who do weekend jobs" and cases where "the employment relationship is not of substantial importance to the parties concerned." Those envisaged, somewhat insensitively, included twilight shift workers who were "nearly all women with domestic responsibilities." That threshold was carried into the Redundancy Payments Act 1965 and the Industrial Relations Act 1971. But for notice and terms of employment the threshold was gradually lowered and then abolished after it was found incompatible with the Equal Treatment Directive, 76/207/EEC, by the House of Lords in R v. Secretary of State for Employment, ex parte Equal Opportunities Commission.

In order to get a written statement it was necessary to wait for five weeks of employment.

Under the Act, it was a criminal offence, punishable by fine, for the employer to refuse to give the requisite written statement. But this was repealed by the Labour government in 1965.

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