Employment law changes for 2020 – what does your business need to know?

Jan 2, 2020 | Business Principles

The issues of Brexit and also a recent Queen’s speech have rather disrupted and distracted from long-term planning when it comes to employment law changes, however there are still some confirmed changes that will be happening shortly which are likely to affect your business. Find out below what these changes are and what action you may need to take.

Written statement of employment particulars

At the moment, employees who have been employed for longer than a month are entitled to a written statement of their main terms of employment, which must be given to them within two months of starting.
For most businesses, this is covered by an employment contract, and is usually provided before or soon after start date, so well ahead of the deadline.
However, from 6 April 2020, the right to a written statement of particulars will apply to both employees and workers, and the statement must be provided by day one of employment. In addition there are some new pieces of information that must be included.
Action – review processes to ensure that if you don’t currently get contracts out before start date you will be able to do so from April; check the content of your standard contract to make sure it includes everything it is supposed to; and make sure that casual workers’ documentation also meets the minimum requirements.

Agency workers changes

Agency workers are entitled to the same pay and basic working conditions as employees of the company they are working for once they have completed 12 weeks’ continuous service in the same role.
However there is currently an exception called the “Swedish derogation’ which means that if an agency worker is employed under a permanent contract of employment with their agency and are paid by the agency for periods between assignments, the right to the same terms doesn’t apply.
From 6 April 2020, this exception will be removed.
Action – check with any agency you are using to ensure they are updating contracts of workers to remove relevant clauses and that communications with agencies around terms and conditions parity now include all workers you engage.

Changes to IR35 rules for the private sector

As per our previous article, rules around self-employed contractors currently applicable to public sector organisations will start applying to medium and large private sector employers as well.
Action – although this change affects only medium and large organisations directly, it may also affect small businesses indirectly, so have a read here to find out whether you should be taking action.

Holiday pay reference period

For those working variable hours, holiday pay needs to be calculated as an average using a reference period, to ensure those taking annual leave get paid the right amount. The reference period is currently 12 weeks, however from 6 April 2020 it will increase to 52 weeks (and any weeks where no work was carried out/no pay received must be disregarded when making the calculation.
Action – change any systems you have in place to ensure the correct reference period is used, and where a holiday reference period is directly referred to in writing, make sure the contract or policy in question is updated.

Parental bereavement leave

Assuming it goes ahead as planning, bereaved parents will soon have the right to two weeks’ leave following the loss of a child or a stillbirth. We are still awaiting the regulations governing how the leave must work, however it will be similar to paternity leave.
Action – no action just yet, however when confirmation is received, you may want to amend any policies you currently have around family leave or other time off work.
If you’d like any help making sure your contracts and policies are up to date with upcoming changes, do get in touch.