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Employment law update 2019 - 2020

Here we summarise the latest employment law changes and legal updates.

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Upcoming changes to the law

April 2020

Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 has now been passed by Royal Assent and is expected to come into force in April.

It will give all employed parents the right to 2 weeks' leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

Changes to written statements of employment particulars

There are three important changes to written statements, which will apply from April 6th 2020:

  1. All workers employed on or after 6th April 2020 will be entitled to a written statement of employment particulars.
  2. Employees and workers must be provided with their written statement on or before their first day of employment.
  3. There is additional information that written statements will need to contain, including:
  • the hours and days of the week the worker /employee is required to work, whether they may be varied and how
  • entitlements to any paid leave
  • any other benefits not covered elsewhere in the written statement
  • details of any probationary period
  • details of training provided by the employer.

Changes to agency workers' rights

There are three important changes to agency workers' rights which will apply from April 6th 2020:

  1. 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. From 6th April 2020, 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Changes to ICE (Information and Consultation of Employees) Regulations

From 6th April 2020, there will be a reduction in the percentage of employees required to make a valid request for an agreement on the sharing of information and consultation within the workplace. Currently it is at least 10% of the workforce who must put in a request before an employer is obliged to take steps to comply with this right. This percentage will be reduced to 2%. The requirement that at least 15 employees make the request will remain.

Changes to holiday pay calculations

From 6th April 2020, the reference period to calculate a 'week's pay' for holiday pay purposes will be extended from the previous 12 weeks of work to the previous 52 weeks.

Updates 2019

January 2019: Executive Pay Ratio Reporting

From this date, regulations made under the Companies Act 2006 require UK listed companies with more than 250 UK employees to report annually on the pay gap between their chief executive and their average UK worker. 

The first reports are due in 2020.

April 2019: Pay slip changes

There are two important changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996, affecting pay slip information, which will come into force on 6 April:

  1. Employers must include the total number of hours worked where the pay varies according to the hours worked, for example under variable hours or zero hour contracts.
  2. Payslips must be given to 'workers' and not just employee.

April 2019 : Flexible working introduced in the armed force

From April regulations will amend the terms of service of enlisted personnel who are not commission officers to allow for two types of flexible working. Part-time working allows personnel to agree days on which they are not required to be available for active service. "Service on a restricted separation basis" enables restrictions to be placed on the number of days on which personnel can be required to perform duties away from a specified place. The two types of flexible working are known collectively as "flexible service."

Annual updates

April: National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

Increases in hourly rates of pay for both the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. Details in the table below.

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Statutory payments Current Rates and increases from April 2019

Weekly payments

From April 2018

From April 2019
Maternity/Paternity/Adoption £145.18£148.68
Sick pay£92.05£94.25
Lower Earnings Threshold£116£118
  
Hourly payments  
National Living Wage Workers aged 25 and over£7.83£8.21
National Minimum Wage 
Workers aged 21-24£7.38£7.70
Workers aged 18-20£5.90£6.15
Workers ages 16-17£4.20£4.35
Apprentice rate£3.70£3.90

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