Upcoming employment law changes for 2020

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Written by: Alcumus
15th January

April is usually a busy time for employment law changes and 2020 is no exception. Some of these changes are a result of the Good Work Plan, whereas others are not. It’s also worth employers noting the change of day for the May Day Bank Holiday this year.
For more information on the Good Work Plan register for our webinar or view the Government’s guide.
Below are a selection of changes coming into play in April:

1) Parental bereavement leave 

The Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020 and The Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020 (made under the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018), which will be known as Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy campaigned tirelessly on the issue, will come into effect from 6 April 2020 (subject to Parliamentary approval of the draft legislation being laid on 23 January 2020).

Bereaved parents will have the right to take leave of one week, two continuous weeks, or two separate weeks, starting on any day of the week. The leave may be used anytime in first 56 weeks after death or stillbirth of child.
Bereaved parents employed with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be entitled to receive statutory parental bereavement pay. Those with less than 26 weeks’ continuous service can still take the leave but it would be unpaid.

2) Statement of terms

Currently, employees who have been continuously employed for more than one month must be provided with a written statement of terms within two months of employment commencing.
From 6 April 2020, there will be an extension of the right to a written statement of terms to all workers. This means all workers (not just employees) must receive a written statement from their employer on their first day employment. This means that employers should be preparing a written statement during the recruitment process.

3) Holiday pay

The calculation of holiday pay can be complicated, particularly for those with variable hours and variable rates of remuneration. Currently, the holiday pay reference period is 12 weeks.
6 April 2020 will see an increase in the holiday pay reference period rising from 12 weeks to 52 weeks for workers who work different hours from one week to another. This means that employers will need to look back over the past 52 weeks, discarding any weeks that a worker did not earn, to calculate their average weekly pay.

4) Extension of IR35 to private sector

Reforms to the intermediary’s legislation (IR35) in the public sector are due be extended to medium and large private-sector employers from 6 April 2020. Responsibility for determining if IR35 applies to independent contractors will shift to the organisation engaging the individual. The rules are aimed at reducing tax avoidance for off-payroll contractors employed via personal service companies. Employers should review the contracts and pay arrangements for their contractors to determine how the new rules will affect them.

5) Agency workers

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’ 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, the Swedish derogation is removed. Once agency workers have satisfied the 12-week qualifying period, they will be entitled to equal pay to workers who are engaged directly by the employer.
On or prior to 30 April 2020, agency workers whose existing contracts contain a Swedish derogation provision must be provided with a written notification by the agency that it will no longer have effect.
In addition, from 6 April 2020 all agency work-seekers must be provided with a key facts statement setting out the terms under which they will undertake the work.

6) Change of day for May Day Bank Holiday

This year's May Day bank holiday will be moved back by four days for the whole of the UK to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
May Day is traditionally held on a Monday but will be put back to Friday 8 May 2020.
VE Day marks the day towards the end of World War Two when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe.
The holiday will form part of a three-day weekend of commemorative events.
Contact the Alcumus PSM HR team for advice on any of the above (except IR35 and agency workers as we are not qualified to advise on non-employee matters) by emailing [email protected] or call us on 01484 439930.
Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health and safety (H&S) consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Written by Anil Champaneri, Senior HR Consultant