There are some key Employment Law changes coming into force in April 2020. Employers will need to review and update their employment processes and documentation to meet the changes.
Here are the main UK employment law changes employers need to plan for.
A statement of written particulars of employment sets out certain terms within an employment relationship that are prescribed by law. Previously, the employment law legislation stated that employees only had a right to a statement of written particulars of employment if they had been continuously employed by a business for more than a month.
A new law on contracts is coming into play that states “all new employees and workers will have the right to a statement of written particulars from their first day of employment.” This means as an employer, you’ll need to issue contracts for employees who are considered full-time workers.
A statement of written particulars of employment, which must be contained in a single document, needs to include basic information about the employer, employee, conditions of employment and employee entitlements, including the following:
Employee’s name, job title and start date
Hours of work
How much and how often the employee will be paid
Address of the place of work
The following information doesn’t need to be explicitly covered; however, the document must state where this information can be found:
Disciplinary and dismissal procedures
Sick pay and procedures
Written statements from 6 April 2020 also need to include additional information, such as the following:
If the working hours or days are variable, and if so, how the variation will be decided
The days of the week the worker/employee is obligated to work
Entitlement to different types of paid leave
Any additional benefits or remuneration provided
Probationary periods, including any conditions and its duration
Required training the worker will be required to complete and any other required training the employer will not pay for themselves.
These new requirements only apply to employment starting on or after 6 April 2020. However, existing employees can request a new statement of written particulars that follow the new conditions. This legally needs to be provided within a month. Additionally, if employers make any changes to the information in the written statement, employees need to be notified in writing within one month of the changes coming into effect.
Note: Failure to provide a statement of written particulars of employment or if it’s incomplete or inaccurate could entitle a worker or employee to bring forward an employment Tribunal claim. Compensation for this type of breach is between two and four weeks’ pay and subject to the statutory pay cap at £525 per week.
Carry out contract reviews
Assess the statuses of employees and workers
Prepare and draft contracts based on changes
Employees have previously had no right to take time off during child bereavement cases, but a new parental bereavement leave law offers parents the right to take two weeks of statutory leave after the loss of a child under 18 or a stillbirth following 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Holiday pay has been calculated by looking at what a worker had been paid in the previous 12 weeks for remuneration. However, from 6 April 2020, the holiday pay reference period will be increased to the last 52 weeks a worker has worked and been paid, discarding any weeks not worked.
The minimum wage is being increased from £8.21 to £8.72 for workers aged over 25. This change comes into effect on 1 April 2020, making it a useful time to consider if you should be paying any of your employees or workers a higher wage.
Read more: Small business best practice: Minimum Wage
Changes to IR35 off-payroll will be rolled out for the private sector. The changes mean the end user client, who hire contractors or self-employed workers through a service company, will need to decide on the IR35 status of a contractor. This is to ensure contractors working like employees through their own limited company will largely pay the same tax and National Insurance contributions as workers employed directly.
As the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic of COVID-19, significant disruption to normal working patterns can be expected and a range of novel employment situations may arise.
Employers are advised to introduce new safety measures at work consistent with any guidance issued by Public Health England that impacts the workplace or employment relationships. The WHO also recommends that businesses assess the benefits and risks related to business travel.
Employees who have to self-isolate due to the coronavirus are able to receive statutory stick pay from day 1 instead of day 4. Employees will be able to self-certify using the 111 NHS number. Small businesses with less than 250 employees will be eligible for a refund from the government for statutory sick pay for a maximum of 14 days.
As some schools have already closed due to COVID-19, employees are legally able to take time off on an unpaid basis to help their dependants unless the contract of employment or employer policy states otherwise. This includes instances where there has been an unexpected disruption to the arrangements to care for a dependent, an incident at school or where a dependent is ill.
Employers should especially consider the needs of employees who may have a higher risk of developing a severe COVID-19 case or have a particular cause for concern. If an employee is anxious about attending work amidst the outbreak and is not in one of the groups PHE says should self-isolate, the employer must listen to the concerns of their employee.
Many businesses across a range of sectors are feeling the impact of coronavirus due to consumers staying home and employees self-isolating, and in the UK Budget, the government has offered a range of measures to support businesses throughout the outbreak.
At Accounts & Legal, we provide employment law advice for small and medium sized businesses. We also offer a New Employee Package, which includes everything new businesses need to employ staff legally and effectively.
We can help you ensure you're compliant with all of the employment law changes coming into effect. Find out more about the employment law services and advice we provide. If you are looking for employment law solicitors, employment law advice or general small business legal advice, give us a call on 0207 043 4000, or get an instant quote here.