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What to Expect in Employment Law in 2020
Further to the outcome of the general election in December 2019, the UK is set to leave the European Union on 31 January 2020 at 11pm. EU Law will continue to apply whilst the UK is in its transition period and we will continue to update you on any changes that you need to be aware of as it is now more important than ever that you keep up to date with changes in Employment Law.
You may recall earlier last year we published an article on the anticipated changes expected in Employment Law in 2020 which were mainly set out in the Government’s Good Work Plan, however, the following key legislative changes are set to take force from 6 April 2020:
Contracts of employment must be given on the first day of employment
Employees are entitled to a contract of employment no later than two months from their start date.
Employees and workers will be entitled to a written statement of their particular terms from the date their employment starts. This will be particularly onerous on employees and it is important that employers are aware of their potential exposure as failing to provide a contract of employment risks a compensation award of either two of four weeks’ pay.
Our Specialist Documentation team will be available to assist in updating your documentation to ensure that it is compliant with the new requirements.
Changes to holiday pay calculations
For those who work variable hours and have variable pay, their holiday entitlement is calculated by working out their average hours and earnings in the proceeding 12-week reference period.
From 6 April 2020, employers will need to look back to a 52-week reference period for working out holiday pay accrual and pay where the employee has 52 weeks of service, disregarding weeks where they have not earnt anything.
If you need specialist advice on calculating holiday pay, as this is rarely straight forward, please contact your dedicated Employment Law Consultant.
Parental Bereavement leave:
There is no current statutory provision that entitles a bereaved parent from taking leave.
Although we are still awaiting confirmation, it is expected that the new parental bereavement leave and pay requirements will come into force on 6 April 2020 under the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018. The new law will entitle bereaved parents to two weeks of leave following the loss of a child (under 18) or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. There will also be entitlement to statutory parental bereavement pay for those with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service.
Swedish Derogation Abolished
Under the Agency Worker Regulations 2010, agency workers are entitled to the same basic working conditions and pay parity as comparable direct employees after they have 12 weeks service in the same role. However, under the Swedish Derogation, there is an exemption to this if the agency worker is employed under a permanent contract of employment with the temporary agency and paid between assignments.
The exception under the Swedish Derogation will be abolished from 6 April 2020 and as such, agency workers will be entitled to the same basic working conditions and pay after 12 weeks service in the same role without exception. By 30 April 2020, agency workers that have a Swedish Derogation clause in their contracts must be issued with a written notification by the agency that this clause will no longer have effect. Again, our documentation team are on hand if you need any assistance with your documentation for staff.
As confirmed in the Queen’s speech on 19 December 2019 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-50842124), the Government is proposing a new Employment Bill, which we expect to include the following changes:
- A single employment enforcement agency
This is expected to replace the enforcement functions of the Health and Safety Executive, HM Revenue and Customs, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. More information is expected on this later in 2020.
- Protection of Tips and Service Charges
Those clients of ours in the hospitality sector should be aware that changes to tips and service charges have been on the horizon for some time now. Legislation is proposed to ensure that employers pass all tips and service charges on to their staff.
- Flexible working the new default
Subject to further consultation, as set out in the Conservative party manifesto, the Government intends to make flexible working the default position unless an employer has a good reason not to allow it.
The above changes will undoubtedly impact on UK Business owners and in order to ensure the least amount of disruption to your business we advise that you plan ahead and prepare early. If any of the planned changes will impact you, please call in our 24-hour client advice line: 0330 100 8704 and quote your Client Account Number on all correspondence and telephone calls. Our specialist documentation and employment law teams are available by phone and email to discuss your concerns and help you plan ahead for a prosperous 2020!