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Key changes in employment law to look out for in 2020

12 February 2020
Key changes in employment law to look out for in 2020

Employment law is constantly changing and employers need to ensure that they keep on top of the changes, as errors could be detrimental to the business. 2020 is an important year, where we will see a number of key changes.

1. New right to a written statement of terms

At the moment, employees who have been continuously employed for more than one month must be provided with a written statement of terms within two months of commencing employment.

However, from April 2020, all new employees and workers will have the right to a statement of written particulars from their first day of employment. Additional information will have to be added as part of the extended right, which includes:

  • the hours and days of the week the worker/employee is required to work, whether they may be varied and how
  • entitlements to any paid leave
  • any other benefits not covered elsewhere in the written statement
  • details of any probationary period
  • details of training provided by the employer

Employers should start preparing and ensuring that they revise the statement of particulars and ensure that these include every element of the new requirement.

Employers will need to consider who may qualify as a worker and issue a separate particulars for them.

2. The Agency Worker Regulations 2010

The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 (AWR 2010) allows agency workers to receive the same pay and basic working conditions as employees directly recruited by the employer once they have completed 12 weeks’ continuous service working in the same role.

The “Swedish derogation” currently provides an exemption to the right to equal pay, if agency workers are employed under a permanent contract of employment with the temporary work agency and are paid by the agency for periods between assignments.

From 6 April 2020, the Swedish derogation is removed. Once agency workers have satisfied the 12 week qualifying period they will be entitled to equal pay to workers who are engaged directly by the employer. Further, from 6 April 2020, all agency worker seekers must be given a key facts statement setting out the terms under which they will undertake the work.

On or before 30 April 2020, agency workers who have existing contracts which contain a Swedish derogation provision must be provided with a written notification by the agency that it will no longer have effect.

3. IR35 for the Private sector

UPDATE: IR35 tax reforms have since been delayed a year, until 2021, due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Currently, the IR35 rules apply where an individual (worker) personally performs services for another person (client), through an intermediary (usually a personal service company) and if the services were provided under a direct contract, the worker would be regarded for tax purposes as being employed by the client. At the moment, it is the intermediary’s responsibility.

However, from 6 April 2020 amendments to IR35 will be implemented for medium and large businesses in the private sector.

So, for all contracts entered in to or payments made on or after 6 April 2020, the burden will shift from the personal service company to the end-user client to make a status determination. Responsibility for accounting for tax and national insurance will shift to the party who pays for the individual’s services, known as the “fee payer”.

It is therefore important that medium and large businesses carry out an assessment to determine whether the new rules under IR35 apply to their independent contractors and review their contracts and pay arrangement. Small businesses will not be caught by the changes.

4. Holiday Pay reference period adjustment

Currently, when calculating holiday pay, the reference period is 12 weeks.

However, from April 2020 the holiday pay reference period will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. Employers will have to look back at the previous 52 weeks where a worker has worked and received pay, disallowing any weeks not worked or where no pay was received to calculate the average weekly pay. The change is made in the hope that it will help to even out the variation in pay for workers, especially those in seasonal or atypical roles.

5. New Parental Bereavement Leave

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 is expected to come in to effect in April 2020. If it does come into effect, bereaved parents will have the right to two weeks of leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Read more: Jack’s Law: The introduction of statutory parental bereavement leave

Bereaved parents will be entitled to take their leave in one two – week blocks or in two separate blocks of one week. The leave must be taken before the end of a period of at least 56 days beginning with the date of the child’s death.

Bereaved parents who have been employed with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be entitled to receive statutory parental bereavement pay. Those with less than 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to take two weeks of unpaid leave.

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