Employment Law Changes April 2020

Although everyone is focused on Covid-19 and rightfully so, new legislation has crept up on us. In addition, some major employment law changes April 2020 to existing employment regulations comes into force from today, 6 April 2020.

We have already been working with our clients on this from the start of the year. Furthermore, we ran seminars on this during the month of March. Earlier today, we also hosted a webinar on The Good Work Plan.

The key changes are here:

Written terms (‘written statement of employment particulars’)

Staff now have the same right as employees to written terms (a ‘written statement of employment particulars’) from their employer.

Employers must provide their workers and employees with their written statement on or before their first day of employment. This is no matter how long they’re employed for. Our advice here is to send out these details at the point your new employee and worker accept your offer of employment. In addition, it’s important they know all the terms they are signing up to and far better for you to iron out any issues up front, rather than wait until the first day of employment.

You can email these out electronically, along with a copy of your Employee Handbook. If you’re using software to do this, take advantage of automation.

The written statement must include details about:

  • The hours and days of the week the worker or employee is required to work, and whether they may be varied and how
  •  Entitlements to annual leave
  •  Any other benefits not covered elsewhere in the written statement – for example, private health care, life assurance, dental treatment etc.
  • Probationary period including how long this will last and how it will be assessed
  • Any training provided by the employer

Changes to holiday pay calculations

From 6 April 2020, the time used to calculate a week’s pay for holiday pay purposes increases from the previous 12 weeks of work to the previous 52 weeks. We’ve been educating businesses on this for some time. This is extremely important where a worker or employee works variable hours or works regular overtime.

Agency workers’ rights

The Swedish Derogation (referred to as ‘pay between assignments’ contracts) is abolished from 6 April 2020. In addition, all agency workers are entitled to the same rate of pay as permanent staff after 12 weeks.

All agency workers are entitled to a key information document that clearly sets out the type of contract they will have and the pay they’ll receive. You should have an audit trail in place with your agencies to ensure you have checked they have provided this information to the agency worker.

ICE (Information and Consultation of Employees) Regulations

From 6 April 2020, it’s been made easier to request an information and consultation agreement. A minimum of 2%, rather than 10% of staff (or at least 15 people), in workplaces with 50 employees or more can request a formal agreement to be informed and consulted about workplace matters.

We don’t see a lot of formal Employee Forums in place where there is no collective agreement in place with a Trade Union. However, it’s good practice to have regular communication forums in place. If you don’t, then you run the risk of your staff requesting this and driving the agenda – we would suggest it’s far better for you as the employer to take the initiative here.

Parental bereavement leave and pay

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 gives all employed parents the right to 2 weeks’ paid leave if their child aged under 18 dies. This also applies if they have a stillbirth at 24 weeks or later. You should ensure your policies reflect this change.

If you’re looking for further information, you can download our eBook on The Good Work Plan here. You can also read our blog here.

If you’re looking for guidance relating to Covid-19, you can check out our FAQs.

Events

We have a number of Webinars in April – you can check these out here. Remember, even staff who are furloughed can participate in workplace training.