April 2020 – Changes to Employment Legislation

There are a number of changes taking place in April 2020 to employment legislation.   Some of these arise out of the government’s Good Work Plan which was published in December 2018 and which has been described as the government’s “vision for the future of the UK labour market”.

 

Below is a summary of the forthcoming changes.

 

Changes to the “Written Statement of Employment Particulars” (Employment Contracts)

Previously employers had two months to give new employees their statement of terms of employment, which was commonly produced in the form of an employment contract.  As of 6th April 2020, employers must ensure that everyone has a written statement of ‘employment particulars’ from day one.  In addition, it is not just employees that have an entitlement to a statement of terms; workers (often “agency workers” or “casual workers”) are also entitled to a statement of terms from day one – even if they are only working for a few days or weeks.

The information to be included in the written statement from day one is also being expanded.  In addition to the current information that must be provided for all new joiners on or after 6 April 2020 the statement should also include:

  • how long a job is expected to last, or the end date of a fixed-term contract
  • how much notice the employer and worker are required to give to terminate the agreement
  • details of eligibility for sick leave and pay
  • details of other types of paid leave e.g. maternity leave and paternity leave
  • the duration and conditions of any probationary period
  • all remuneration (not just pay) e.g. vouchers, lunch, health insurance
  • the normal working hours, the days of the week the worker is required to work, and whether or not such hours or days may be variable, and if they may be how they vary or how that variation is to be determined
  • any training entitlement provided by the employer, any part of that training entitlement which the employer requires the worker to complete, and any other training which the employer requires the worker to complete and which the employer will not bear the cost.

 

Holiday pay

In the Good Work Plan the government made a commitment to improving the holiday pay arrangements for seasonal workers.  To achieve this, the reference period for determining an average week’s pay will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, or if the worker has been employed for less than 52 weeks, the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been engaged.

 

Agency Workers – IR35 and the Swedish Derogation

If you employ staff through an agency or though their own company, there are a couple of changes in April that may affect you.

Medium and large sized private sector businesses will become responsible for assessing the employment status of certain “off-payroll” workers they take on (this is already the case in the public sector). This will consequently mean that they will be accountable to HMRC for a wrong assessment. These rules will need to be considered where you have an individual providing their services through their own intermediary (often a personal service company.)

As a general rule at the moment, for the private sector, the person providing services through their own intermediary is responsible for deciding if the relevant rules apply and for accounting for income tax and NI where it applies.  This is going to change to make the end client liable.  HMRC have a website that help to make this assessment: Check employment status for tax

The “Swedish derogation” principle allowed employers to avoid equal pay (after 12 weeks) between agency workers and direct employees if certain conditions are met, which included continuity of pay between assignments.  This will not longer apply from 6 April 2020, and employers will be required to comply with the Agency Workers Regulations (2010) and ensure that agency workers have equal pay and conditions compared to permanent employees after 12 weeks of working.  The agencies are also required to provide the workers with written statements and a Key Information Document.

 

Information and consultation regulations

Under the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations (2005) employers who employee 50 or more employees may receive a request from employees to set up a formal agreement which would provide for information and consultation on workplace issues with elected representatives.

The thresholds required for such a request will be lowered on 6 April 2020.  Currently support of 10 percent of employees is needed for a successful request but this will be reduced to 2 percent. The 15 employee minimum threshold will remain.

 

Parental Bereavement Leave – “Jack’s Law”

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act is expected to come into effect in April 2020.  There will be a statutory right to a minimum of 2 weeks’ leave for all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.  Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of 2 weeks, or as 2 separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death.

Parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer and weekly average earnings over the lower earning limit will also be entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP), paid at the statutory rate of £148.68 per week (for 2019 to 2020), or 90% of average weekly earnings where this is lower.

 

Further information

There are other future employment legislation changes planned, but no agreed date for when they come into force yet.

If you have any question regarding these changes, please get in touch!  However, please note that Rachel will be away from 17th February to 29th March 2020.  Feel free to text or e-mail, but there may be a delayed response.

Contact Rachel Downer on:

  • E-mail: rachel@canterburyhr.com
  • Phone: 01227 728 547 or 07951 538 757
  • Website: www.canterburyhr.com