In the current situation relating to COVID-19, it would be easy for employers to lose sight of the fact that there are important Employment Law changes taking effect in April. Many of these have come out of the Good Work Plan, which the Government published in December 2018 setting out its ‘vision for the future of the UK labour market’.
This remains a key time for employers to review contracts of employment and policies to keep in line with new legislation.
Changes to Statements of Employment Particulars
As of 6 April 2020, all workers, not just employees, will be entitled to a statement of written particulars from day one of employment. Currently, employers are allowed up to 2 months to issue such a statement.
The statement must include the below information:
- Days of the week required to work, and if such hours/days are variable, how they vary and how the variation is to be determined
- The terms and conditions relating to any other paid leave e.g. maternity leave and paternity leave
- Details of any other benefits
- Details of the duration and conditions of any probationary period
- Details of any training entitlement provided, any part of that training which is compulsory and any other compulsory training, which the employer will not pay for
Holiday Pay Calculations for Workers with Variable Hours or Pay
From 6 April, the method of calculating holiday pay for workers with variable hours or pay will change. The holiday pay for such workers will need to be calculated on the basis of their average earnings over the previous 52 weeks (formerly it was 12 weeks), omitting any weeks in which they have not received any pay and adding on earlier weeks in order to make up the 52 week reference period. For workers who have been employed for less than 52 weeks, the reference period will be the number of weeks for which they have been employed.
Parental Bereavement Leave
The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 came into force on 18 January 2020, giving all employed parents the right to 2 weeks’ paid leave (to be taken in blocks of 1 or 2 weeks within a window of 56 weeks) if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Pay will be at the same prescribed rate as that relating to other statutory family leave (£151.20 per week from 6 April, or 90% of average earnings where that is less). The final versions of the draft regulations detailing these new rights have been published and are expected to apply in respect of children who die on or after 6 April 2020.
Changes to IR35 Rules to be Extended to Private Sector
IR35 tax rules are aimed at reducing tax avoidance for off-payroll contractors working through personal service companies (PSCs). Changes to these rules were due to take effect from 6 April 2020, but in view of the current situation relating to COVID-19, the government recently announced that they will now not take effect until 6 April 2021, giving affected employers an extra 12 months to prepare. The changes will mean that private sector business who meet certain criteria relating to turnover, balance sheet and employee numbers will become responsible for determining the employment status of any off-payroll contractors they engage through PSCs. Where such workers would be considered to be an employee had they been directly engaged by the business, rather than through the PSC, the business will be responsible for payment of their tax and national insurance contributions.
If you have any queries in relation to any of the above changes, the employment implications of the current Covid-19 situation, or any other aspect of Employment Law, please get in touch on 01942 727200.