As well as dealing with the ongoing impact of coronavirus, business owners and HR personnel need to be aware of changes due to new employment legislation coming into force in April 2020. Key changes affecting employers are summarised below:

  1. New right to a written Statement of Terms (contract of employment) – 6 April 2020

Employment law has been that Employees who have been continuously employed for one month or more must be provided with a written Statement of Terms within two months of employment commencing.

From 6 April 2020, all new employees and workers will have the right to a Statement of Written Particulars (contract of employment) from their first day of employment. As this new obligation is to provide particulars on “day one,” employers should begin preparation of the Statement during the recruitment stage and ensure that these include every element of the new requirement.

Consideration will also need to be given as to who may qualify as a worker, ensuring there is a separate document prepared and issued to those individuals as opposed to the employees.

  1. Increases to statutory family related pay and statutory sick pay – 5th & 6th April 2020

From 6th April 2020, the weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave increases to £151.20 from 5th April 2020.

Statutory sick increases to £95.85 per week from 6th April 2020.

Employers need to make sure that staff on family related or sick leave are paid these new rates and review and update policies and staff handbooks.

  1. Increase to statutory redundancy pay – 6th April 2020

From 6th April 2020, the statutory cap for gross weekly pay for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy pay increases to £538.00.

  1. Check workers are on the new national minimum wage – 6th April 2020

The national living wage for workers aged 25 and over increased to £8.72 per hour on 1st April 2020.

Other national minimum wage rates also increased on 1 April 2020, with hourly rates rising to £8.20 for workers aged 21 to 24, to £6.45 for workers aged 18 to 20 and to £4.55 for workers aged 16 or 17.

  1. Holiday pay “reference period” changes – 6 April 2020

The holiday pay reference period for those with variable hours and variable rates of remuneration is currently 12 weeks.

From 6 April 2020, this will increase to 52 weeks.  Employers will therefore be required to look back at the previous 52 weeks where a worker has worked and received pay, discarding any weeks not worked or when no pay was received. to calculate the average weekly pay.

Contracts of employment and written holiday policies may need updating.

  1. New parental bereavement law effective – 6 April 2020

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 comes into force and permits bereaved parents an entitlement to have to two weeks of leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.  Bereaved parents employed with a minimum of 26 weeks continuous service will also be entitled to receive statutory parental bereavement pay.

Staff Handbooks should be reviewed and updated.

  1. Ensure qualifying Agency workers receive equal pay – 6 April 2020

The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 (AWR 2010) entitles agency workers to receive the same pay and basic working conditions as direct recruits once they have completed 12 weeks’ continuous service working in the same role. The ‘Swedish derogation’ rule 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, once agency workers have satisfied the 12 week qualifying period; they will be entitled to equal pay, the same as the workers who are engaged directly by the employer.  This essentially removes the “Swedish derogation” rule which provides an exception to the right to equal pay.

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

Farleys Solicitors LLP specialise in employment law & HR for businesses. If your business requires HR & employment law advice and support in relation to the current Covid-19 / Coronavirus situation and/or in relation to any other specific areas for example; contracts of employment, staff handbooks, absence from work, home-working, apprentices, recruitment, restructures, redundancy, lay-off; short-time working; disciplinaries, grievances, employee exits, settlement agreements; and Employment Tribunal claim or defence and representation; please contact Farleys’ employment law team on 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.