Employment Legislation Changes

By way of light relief from the deluge of updates relating to the dreaded C-word here are some key changes to employment law coming into force in April 2020. There is quite a long list so it will distract you from the constant furlough queries.

New rules on Section 1 Statements from April 2020

This is very important. Critical changes are being made to section 1 statements - the minimum written information that employers must provide to employees in relation to their working terms, from April 2020. The changes are hoped to provide clarity in the employment relationship and improve the enforcement of employment rights.

Written statements under the current rules must include information such as the employees place of work, job title, hours of work and pay, amongst other details. From 6 April 2020 the following additional information must be included in the particulars:

  • Working schedule and whether or not hours/days worked may be variable
  • Entitlement to paid leave
  • Training provided (and whether this is mandatory and/or paid for)
  • Details of all remuneration and benefits
  • Probationary period (if applicable)

Other changes to the rules include the requirement that from April section 1 statements must be provided to workers as well as employees. Another change will be that the information detailed in the statement must be provided to the employee or worker on or before the date on which employment starts (although certain information can be provided in instalments and by reference to other documents over the subsequent two month period). Currently this is only required within two months of the employee commencing employment.

Existing employees can also request a new section 1 statement and this must be provided within one month of a request.

Under existing law, employees can only bring a tribunal claim for failure to provide a section 1 statement if they are also bringing another specified claim in the employment tribunal (such as unfair dismissal). The compensation for failure to provide the particulars required is capped at four weeks basic salary. No changes are going to be made to this in April.

Prior to the changes coming into place employers should review their current section 1 statements as amendments may be necessary before these are issued to new recruits.

Good Work Plan

Legislative changes to implement the government's Good Work Plan will come into effect on 6 April 2020. These include:

  • Increase to the holiday pay reference period for determining an average week's pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, or the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been employed (if less).
  • Removal of the Swedish derogation provisions set out in regulations 10 and 11 of the Agency Worker Regulations 2010, so that all agency workers have a right to pay parity with comparable permanent staff after 12 weeks. The Swedish derogation provided an exemption from the right to equal treatment with regard to pay where an agency worker was given a permanent contract of employment and paid between assignments. The Taylor Review recommended that the Swedish derogation be repealed which has been done. ACTION TO BE TAKEN: By no later than 30 April 2020, temporary work agencies must provide agency workers whose existing contracts contain a Swedish derogation provision with a written statement advising that, with effect from 6 April 2020, those provisions no longer apply.
  • All employment businesses to provide agency work-seekers with a “Key Information Document” before agreeing the terms by which the work-seeker will undertake work. This document must include information about:
    • Whether the work-seeker will be engaged under a contract of service, an apprenticeship or a contract for services.
    • The identity of the employment business.
    • The minimum expected rate of pay.
    • How they will be paid and by whom (for example, by an intermediary or umbrella company).
    • Any non-monetary benefits to which the work-seeker will be entitled.
    • The nature and amount of any deductions, costs or fees that will be taken, specifying which of these are required by law.
    • Details of any entitlement to annual leave and to payment in respect of such leave.
    • An illustrative example of what this might mean for their take-home pay.

Tribunal awards and statutory payments - as of 6 April

The maximum limit on a week's pay will increase from £525 to £538 and the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £86,444 to £88,519.

The statutory sick pay rate will increase from £94.25 per week to £95.85 and the statutory rate of maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay and shared parental pay will increase from £148.68 per week to £151.20.

Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay - as of 6 April

A new statutory right for employees to take one or two weeks off work following the death of a child under 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks pregnancy will apply where the death or stillbirth occurs on or after 6 April 2020. There is no minimum length of service for the right to take leave.

Statutory parental bereavement pay may be payable during parental bereavement leave where the individual has at least six months' continuous service and normal weekly earnings of at least the lower earnings limit. It will be paid at the same rate as statutory paternity pay or shared parental pay and is not payable during a week in which the employee does any work for the employer.

Vento band increases for discrimination injury to feelings awards - 6 April

Lower band: £900 to £9,000.

Middle band: £9,000 to £27,000.

Upper band: £27,000 to £45,000.

NMW Increases - as of 1 April:

NLW (25+) - £8.72, standard adult rate (21+) £8.20, development rate (18-20) £6.45, young workers rate (16 - 17) £4.55, apprentices £4.15

Amendments to NMW Regs regarding salaried hours work and reductions - 6 April 2020

The changes will mean that:

  • any salary premium paid to a salaried hours worker will not form part of the worker's remuneration for NMW purposes enabling employers to pay premiums, for example, for working on bank holidays, without falling outside the definition of salaried hours work.
  • a salaried hours worker may be paid in equal instalments which are not more often than weekly and not less often than monthly which provides additional flexibility to employers relating to the frequency with which they can make equal payments to salaried workers. Example: currently, low-paid salaried workers cannot be paid in fortnightly cycles, for example, without the risk of their employer breaching the NMW Regulations 2015.
  • employers can change the worker's calculation year so that it begins with a day chosen by the employer. Employers can do this by giving the worker at least three months' written notice, provided that certain requirements are met.
  • Where a worker purchases goods or services from their employer to comply with a requirement imposed by the employer (for example, purchase of a uniform) or pays or is due to pay their employer re expenditure connected to their employment, this will not be a reduction for NMW purposes if the employer reimburses the worker for the purchase or intends to do so . This takes effect for the first pay reference period after 6 April 2020.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Employment Team at Rollits.

Posted on: 06/04/2020

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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