In April and October every year there are changes and updates in employment law. This year sees the implementation of the Good Work Plan so we have many more changes coming in than usual.

Some of these changes have come into force on 6th April 2020 but understandably, there are some planned changes that will be delayed due to the impact of COVID-19.

The Good Work Plan

The Good Work Plan is the government’s response to The Taylor Review which was commissioned by the Prime Minister in 2016 and published on 11th July 2017. It was an independent review of modern working practices.

In February 2018, the government published its response and later in December 2018, the government published The Good Work Plan to implement the proposals made in the review. Some aspects of this have already been implemented but most are awaiting further government action.

The government has committed to

  • Maintain workers’ rights as the UK leaves the EU and also to enhance them
  • Ensure both employers and workers have the clarity they need to understand their employment relationship
  • Ensure the enforcement system is fair and fit for purpose
  • A wide range of policy and legislative changes to ensure workers can access fair and decent work
The ChangesWhen?
STATEMENT OF WRITTEN PARTICULARS

– the right to a written statement (or contract usually) is extended to all workers, not just employees;

– rather than having 2 months to provide a contract, it must be provided on or before their first day of employment;

– must include some additional, compulsory elements such as any benefits received; training provided or expected; the duration and conditions of any probationary period, paid leave details; how much notice is required by either party; and specific days and times workers are required to work;

– this applies to workers starting on or after 6th April 2020, you don’t need to change existing contracts.
6th April 2020
CALCULATION OF ANNUAL LEAVE

Until now a reference period of 12 weeks was used to calculate “a week’s pay” for holiday pay purposes. This has now changed to 52 weeks or the number of weeks they have worked, if that is less than 52.
6th April 2020
EMPLOYER'S NIC

Any termination payments above £30,000 subject to employer National Insurance Contributions
6th April 2020
AGENCY WORKERS

The “Swedish Derogation” is removed which allowed agency workers to exchange their right to be paid equally to permanent counterparts in return for a contract guaranteeing pay between assignments. Evidence shows workers are not benefitting and so it will be repealed.
6th April 2020
AGENCY WORKERS

All employment businesses must now provide every agency worker with a Key Facts Page. This would include –
· The type of contract a worker is employed under

· The minimum rate of pay they can expect

· How they are to be paid

· If they are paid through an intermediary company

· Any deductions or fees

· An estimate or example of what this means for their take home pay
6th April 2020
PARENTAL BEREAVEMENT LAW

New law introduced allowing parents 2 weeks’ bereavement leave if they lose a child under 18 or suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. No length of service requirement. If the employee has been employed for 6 months they will also be entitled to statutory pay of £155.21 – in line with maternity pay rate. Can be a single block of two weeks or as two separate blocks of one week within a year, designed to account for the anniversary of the death. This law is a world first.
6th April 2020
TIPS / ADMINISTRATIVE FEES

Employers will be banned from taking administrative fees or other deductions from staff tips. All tips and service charges must be passed on to staff. A statutory code of practice will be introduced setting out principles for fair distribution.
TBC
CONTINUITY OF SERVICE

Currently a gap in service of 1 week with the same employer can break continuous service for calculating employment rights. This is changing to 4 weeks.
TBC
FIXED WORKING PATTERN

Workers can continue to work varied hours each week but those who seek certainty (e.g. when applying for a mortgage) can request a fixed working pattern from their employer after 26 weeks’ of service.
TBC
EMPLOYMENT STATUS

Test to determine if self-employed or employed will change to put more emphasis on control and less on the right to substitute.
TBC
IR35

Rules on off-payroll working in the public sector are to be extended to the private sector for large or medium-sized companies
Postponed to 6th April 2021 due to COVID – 19

In addition to the above, the usual increases on rates were implemented on 1st April 2020. 

YEAR25 and over21 – 2418 – 20APPRENTICE
APRIL 2019 (CURRENT RATE)£8.21£7.70£6.15£3.90
1st APRIL 2020£8.72£8.20£6.45 £4.15

Other rates that will increase are maternity, paternity, shared parental leave and adoption pay will be increased to £151.20 per week. Parental bereavement leave will be set at this rate also to coincide with the April increase.

Statutory sick pay will increase from £94.25 per week to £95.85.

To conclude, 2020 was set to be a busy year for employment law changes and with the COVID- 19 pandemic we have seen an unprecedented impact on employment and employment laws.

The changes listed above without implementation dates may still come into force this year but there is likely to be additional delays whilst the government focuses on the COVID-19 efforts.

If you have any questions about these changes or any other employment matter, please contact us on adelle@am-employment-law.co.uk