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Employment Law Changes April 2020 – Spring

Monday, Jun-21, 2021

Employment Law Changes April 2020 - Spring

April is often the time for new employment legislation to come into effect, and this year is no different with some significant changes taking place on 6 April 2020. Here are some key areas for you to consider:

Contracts of Employment

For a number of decades, employers have been required to provide basic terms of employment (written particulars) as set out in section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. This is often done as part of the contract of employment. Until now employers have had time to provide the particulars following the commencement of employment and where the employment is due to last for more than one month. In addition the particulars were only required to be given to employees and not workers.

The changes are as follows:

  • The particulars should now be given on or before the first day of work and should be provided to all workers not just employees, who start work on or after 6 April 2020. Thankfully, there is no requirement to re-issue contracts to existing staff. An interesting development is that particulars should now also be given to short-term employees or workers.
  • Additional information will be required, and it will be important to amend existing templates to include the days of the week a worker is required to work and any variations in hours and days; entitlement to other paid leave (not just holiday pay) which might include maternity and adoption leave; other benefits provided in addition to remuneration; details of any probationary period; and details of any training provided by the employer.
  • Certain information can be given within two months of commencement and in a separate document including in relation to pensions, collective agreements, training entitlement (although details of compulsory training and any training the worker has to pay for must be included in the initial statement) and disciplinary and grievance procedures.
  • The worker can also be referred to another source (eg handbook) for certain information, including in relation to incapacity and sick pay, entitlement to other paid leave (other than holiday pay), pensions and pension schemes and training entitlement.
  • It is important to issue the statutory information when your worker/employee starts with you. Your HR systems should generate a reminder to do so. It is generally preferable to issue contracts of employment in any event before the commencement of employment and as part of the offer. Failure to do so might mean that any restrictive covenants subsequently introduced are unenforceable and with the new legislation it will now also be a breach of the statutory requirements.
  • You should be clear about the definition of an employee and worker, and if you use agency staff, the agency should ensure that statements are provided.

Changes to IR35

Currently under IR35, where an individual performs services for a client through a personal service company (intermediary) it is the intermediary’s responsibility to determine whether IR35 applies.

From 6 April 2020, changes to IR35 rules will be implemented in the private sector and will largely mirror changes which took effect in the public sector in 2017. The onus will shift from the personal service company to the end user to make a determination about the nature of the relationship, and whether or not the individual providing the service should in fact be considered an employee with the implications which follow for PAYE and National Insurance.

Holiday Pay Reference Period

Holiday pay can be complicated, particularly where workers have variable hours and variable rates of pay. Currently the reference period for calculating holiday pay is 12 weeks.
With the increase in casual workers and variable working patterns, it was felt that it would be more appropriate and give a fairer picture for the holiday pay reference period to be increased from 12 weeks to 52 . From 6 April 2020, employers will be required to consider the previous 52 weeks where a worker has worked and received pay, discounting any weeks not worked or where no pay was received when calculating the average weekly pay for the purposes of holiday pay.

Parental Bereavement Leave

We have published an article on this topic and the introduction of the regulations for bereavement leave and bereavement pay. The entitlement to the leave is reasonably straightforward but the notice requirements are possibly unnecessarily complex. Click here for the article.

Agency Workers

Under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, agency workers should receive the same pay and basic working conditions as direct recruits once 12 weeks of continuous service have been completed. There was an exemption where agency workers are employed under a contract of employment with a temporary worker agency and are paid by the agency for periods between assignments.

The rules are now changing and once an agency worker has satisfied the 12 week qualifying period they will be entitled to equal pay to workers you engage directly.

In addition, from 6 April 2020 all agency work-seekers must be provided with a statement setting out the terms under which they will undertake new work.

If you have any questions about the above then please contact Iain Jenkins.

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