Employment is an area of law that is developing constantly and there are several important changes coming into force on 6 April 2020 that employers should be aware of.

Good Work Plan

Working habits and arrangements have changed dramatically over the past 30 years.

A significant number of people now work in an “atypical” way. This includes part time working, flexible working, agency working and home working. Many people work in the “gig economy”, such as Uber drivers and Deliveroo workers.

The government published the Good Work Plan in 2018 which set out the government’s proposed changes to employment law in light of the developments in modern working. The Good Work plan is considered by many to be a major shake-up of employment law and will increase the employment law rights and protections that are afforded to individuals who fall into the “worker” category.

Several of the changes coming into force on 6 April 2020 were pledges made under the Good Work Plan. It is expected that the Good Work Plan pledges will slowly continue to work their way into law over the coming years.

Written statement of particulars

There are significant changes to written statements of particulars coming into force on 6 April 2020.

Under current laws, only those who are legally classed as employees have a right to a written statement of particulars. At present, employees must be provided with a copy of their written statement of particulars within 2 months of starting work for an employer.

However, from 6 April, both employees and workers will be entitled to a written statement of particulars. This will be a day one right, meaning that employers will have to provide the written statement on the day the employee or worker starts.

Written statements of particulars will have to contain several additional details, such as details of training that the employee is required to carry out, details of benefits offered by the employer, details of paid leave e.g. maternity and paternity leave and details of the probationary period that applies to the worker or employee.

This will require all employers to review their existing template contracts to ensure they are compliant with the new requirements coming into force on 6 April 2020.

Employers may wish to put in place procedures to ensure they have gathered all the necessary information throughout the recruitment process to enable them to prepare the written statement of particulars in advance of the worker’s first day.

Holiday pay

The calculation of holiday pay can be complicated.

Currently, employers need to use a 12 week reference period when calculating holiday pay.

From 6 April 2020, employers will need to look back a full 52 weeks to calculate holiday pay for workers who do not have a set working pattern. It is hoped that this change will be fairer on both workers and employers and make holiday pay more reflective of the way an individual actually works.

Employers may wish to take action now to ensure they are keeping accurate records of worker’ records of pay.

Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act will come into force in April 2020.

This legislation will give parents or carers an entitlement to at least two weeks’ leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service will receive paid leave at the statutory rate and other staff will be entitled to unpaid leave.

Agency worker changes

The “Swedish derogation” principle will be removed from 6 April 2020. This loophole allows employers to avoid pay parity (after 12 weeks) between agency workers and directly hired employees if certain conditions are met.

If an agency worker’s contract includes a Swedish derogation provision, the agency must provide the worker with a written statement advising that, with effect from 6 April, the provisions no longer apply.

An additional change coming into force is that temporary work agencies must provide agency workers with a Key Information Document. This document must include information on the type of contract, the minimum expected rate of pay, how they will be paid and by whom.

This legal update was written in collaboration with Thompsons Solicitors.

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Catherine Reynolds
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