A number of important changes to employment legislation will come into force on April 6th 2020, including:
Written Statement of Terms
As part of the Good Work Plan, changes to the law relating to employment contracts will require employers to provide greater detail in contracts and to issue them earlier in the process.
Currently, employers have to issue a Section 1 Statement, covering employment details within eight weeks of an employee’s start date. From April, employers will need to issue contracts of employment from day one of employment, no matter the length of the contract and to all workers, not just employees.
Contracts will have to explicitly include:
- Details of any benefits
- Details of training requirements
- Details of paid leave and statutory leave
- Sickness absence terms
- Pay terms
The financial penalty for failure to issue a written statement of terms is either two or four weeks pay in the employment tribunal. However, it cannot be brought as a stand-alone claim and has to be tagged on to another claim, for example, unfair dismissal.
Holiday Pay Calculation
The reference period for determining an average week’s pay (for the purposes of calculating holiday pay) will increase in April from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, or where the employee has been employed for less than 52 weeks, the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been employed.
This means that where employees are entitled to be paid for a holiday based on an average pay calculation, which will be the case in most instances, the calculation should be based on the average earnings in the 52 weeks immediately preceding the holiday.
Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay)
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018, which entitles all working parents to two weeks paid statutory leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 (including a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy), is expected to come into force in April, but is subject to the implementation of secondary legislation to implement the details of the scheme.
Changes to Agency Workers’ Rights
There are three important changes to Agency Workers’ rights which will apply from April:
- The abolition of the Swedish Derogation (sometimes referred to as ‘pay between assignments’ contracts). Previously, agency workers could agree a contract which would remove their right to equal pay with permanent counterparts after 12 weeks working at the same assignment. These contracts will no longer be permissible and all agency workers, after 12 weeks, will be entitled to the same rate of pay as their permanent counterparts.
- All agency workers will be entitled to a key information document that more clearly sets out their employment relationships and terms and conditions with their agency.
- Agency workers who are considered to be employees will be protected from unfair dismissal or suffering a detriment if the reasons are related to asserting rights associated with The Agency Worker Regulations.