New Employment Legislation Changes in April 2020
This year sees some new employment legislation changes taking effect on 6 April 2020 that will affect your business if you have employees or variable workers.
Here is a summary of what the key employment law changes are and what actions you need to put in place for your business.
1. Written Statement of Employment Particulars
If you are an employer, you have always had to provide a written statement of particulars to new employees who will be employed for a month or more. This is normally contained within a contract which you had to provide within the first two months of employment, containing the main conditions of employment. It could also be delivered in instalments over this time.
• You will be required to provide a statement of employment particulars to all workers and not just employees – i.e. anyone who has been personally contracted to do work for you, but are not running their own business.
• The written statement will become a day one right to all new employees/workers engaged to work for your business, so you will need to provide this before, or on the first day of service, instead of during the first two months.
• You will need to deliver all the information in one document, instead of instalments.
• Any current workers that have been working with you will be able to request a written statement from the 6th April 2020 that includes the new information highlighted below. As an employer, you need to provide this within one month of the request.
New written statement information to include
The new information that will need to be included from the 6th April 2020 is:
• The name of the worker as well as the employer.
• The date of the engagement as well as the date the employment begins (this would be for workers contracted to do work for you).
• Days of the week that they work and whether the hours/days are variable – if so, how do they vary (hours, pay, days)?
• Any other benefits including non-contractual benefits (childcare vouchers, health insurance etc).
• Length of termination notice required from the worker, not just the employer.
• Probationary periods – details specified including conditions and duration.
• If the worker is required to work outside the UK, you will need to specify the arrangements, including the period of time, pay (including in which currency), any additional pay/benefits and return terms.
• Training that you require the employee/worker to do, training entitlement that you provide, training costs that you don’t cover.
• Any other paid leave they are entitled to.
ACTIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
1. Review all your current employment contracts to ensure that you are including the additional information given above. NOTE THAT IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE SMALL BUSINESS LEGAL ACADEMY THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT HAS BEEN UPDATED TO PROVIDE THIS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REQUIRED.
2. Be careful when amending any current documents that you have that you don’t convert non-contractual benefits into contractual entitlements (like a bonus scheme for example). A way to avoid this is by including them in a separate non-contractual annexe. It’s important to take care when updating any template agreements.
3. If you don’t have one already, prepare a new template of a written statement for workers who are not employees. It is useful to have a separate one, to avoid the chance of using language that may automatically convert workers into employees, for example talking about grievance procedures.
2.Holiday Pay for Variable Workers
Currently, all employees who work set hours are entitled to annual leave based on their usual rate of pay. However, if an employee works variable hours, or has variable pay, their holiday pay is calculated using the average number of hours worked at their average pay for the past 12 weeks.
• For workers who work variable hours or have variable pay, their annual leave will now be calculated using their average hours and pay based on the past 52 weeks (if they have been in your employment for more than 52 weeks) minus any weeks not worked for you.
• For workers who have been employed with you for less than 52 weeks, their annual leave will be calculated based on the number of weeks they have been employed by you, minus any weeks not worked/been paid.
ACTIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
1. Ensure you have records of all hours worked and records of all payments received by these employees. For the future, can you use time tracking software to capture the hours they are working so that it is stored securely?
Currently, most employees are able to have a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off to deal with situations that may arise with a dependant (this can include a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, or someone else that depends on you in an emergency situation), including arranging or attending a funeral. There is no set amount and the time agreed will be between employer and employee, depending on the situation.
Compassionate leave or bereavement leave is also sometimes mentioned in policies by employers that define paid leave allowed at this time, however, this is at the employer’s discretion.
• Parental Bereavement Leave will come into force on the 6th April 2020 and will entitle parents at least two weeks’ paid leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks onwards.
• Parents must take this leave within 56 days of the date of the death of the child.
• If they lose multiple children, they are entitled to paid leave per child.
ACTIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
1. Do you have a Compassionate Leave or Bereavement Policy for your employees? This new legislation will provide a solid bedrock for a policy, but think about what other well being support you can put in place to support anyone who may go through this time. Don’t forget to think about how you can support employees who return to work after this time off – how will you continue to support them once back at work?
NOTE THAT IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE SMALL BUSINESS LEGAL ACADEMY A PARENTAL BEREAVEMENT POLICY HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE TEMPLATE LIBRARY, TOGETHER WITH ASSOCIATED EMPLOYMENT POLICIES INCLUDING A COMPASSIONATE LEAVE POLICY, AN ADOPTION POLICY, A FLEXIBLE WORKING POLICY, A MATERNITY POLICY AND A PATERNITY POLICY.
If you’re worried about whether your business is set up to protect you and your employees legally, you can access my FREE employment checklist at [INSERT]
If you have any other questions about legal issues affecting your business, please get in touch with us for an estimate of our fees to advise you.
Suzanne Dibble is a multi-award winning business lawyer who consults with multi-nationals on data protection law and the upcoming GDPR. The Legal Services Board and the Law Society have heralded her innovative approach to helping small business owners with complex regulations. Suzanne worked with Richard Branson at Virgin where she managed a group wide data protection project which resulted in Virgin nominating Suzanne for the Solicitor of the Year Award and subsequently Suzanne was runner up in this prestigious award. Suzanne has had second to none training and experience at a top City law firm, leading billion pound deals and being on the board of £100m+ business (resulting in her being listed in the Who’s Who of Britain’s Business Elite two years in a row). Suzanne is one of the few lawyers that really understands the online world and the small business world and puts law and regulation in the context of your business. There has been a lot of scaremongering and hype about GDPR (with the headline fines of 20m) and Suzanne brings a practical, balanced approach.