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New Year, Same You, Different Employment Terms

SM
BY Samantha Mackie
Employment Law & HR

The New Year may have brought broken resolutions but not for employment law, with the ‘Good Work Plan’ fully committed to land in April 2020. Employers should make reference to the proposed changes to ensure contracts of employment, information given to employees and their respective pay entitlements, remain legally compliant. Failure to observe the changes could bring repercussions from unlawful deduction from wages claims and beyond.

Written Statement of Particulars

The most notable observation comes with the enhanced requirement for employers to provide a written statement of particulars. Currently an employer has the first two months of the employment relationship to issue a written statement of particulars. From 6 April 2020, all new employees and workers will have the right to a statement of written particulars from their first day of employment. Employer should be aware that this extends to all employees and workers, regardless of the working hours or duration engaged.  The written statement must also include additional information, including details of:

  • Working days
  • Variability in hours and days
  • Any paid leave, including maternity and paternity leave
  • All benefits provided
  • Any probationary period
  • Specific information on training

 

Contracts commencing before April 2020 do not need updated however if someone requests a section 1 statement then this should be provided in compliance with the new requirements.

 

Agency Workers

All agency workers will now have the right to receive the same pay and basic employment terms as comparable employees after 12 weeks of continuous service with an organisation. This will apply even to those employed directly by employment agencies with pay between assignments. This is known as the abolition of the Swedish Derogation. Agency workers will also have the right to be provided with a key information document which will set out information on the type of contract, the minimum rate of pay, any deductions which will be made to their pay, how they will be paid and by whom, and annual leave entitlement.

 

Changes to Leave

A new right to parental bereavement leave will give bereaved parents the right to two weeks of leave following the loss of child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. This can be taken as a single block or as separate weeks within a 56 week window of the bereavement. Bereaved parents employed with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be entitled to receive statutory parental bereavement pay.

 

The Good Work Plan also addresses the controversial issue of holiday pay. The reference period for determining an average week’s pay in order to calculate holiday pay will now increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks (or the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been employed if it has been under 52 weeks). This will be a particularly significant change for any staff whose pay varies, including the zero hours workforce.

 

Lowering consultation threshold

In 2005 the Information and Consultation (ICE) Regulations were introduced to employers of more than 50 staff. They stated that if 10% of employees requested that their employer set up or changed arrangements to inform and consult them about issues in the organisation, the employer was obliged to comply. Arguments that this is an unreasonably large proportion of the workforce have succeeded and this has been reduced to 2%, subject to a minimum of 15 employees.

 

There are a range of additional requirements deriving from the Good Work Plan which should be observed and implemented by employers. Employers should be diligent when issuing new employment contracts and provide additional training to staff accordingly.

 

If you would like further information, our Employment Law updates will give you the necessary head start ahead of the implementation date. Alternatively, contact your dedicated Employment Solicitor for further information.

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