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Are you ready? Employment law 2020

Employers should bear in mind the below detailed changes which are anticipated to come into force in 2020 and the ways to prepare for them.

Changes to the reference period for determining an average week's pay for holiday pay purposes

From 6 April 2020, to even out the variation in pay for workers, particularly in atypical roles,  to calculate an average week’s pay for holiday pay purposes employers will be required to look back at the previous 52 weeks when a worker has worked and received pay, discarding any weeks not worked or where no pay was received (as opposed to 12 weeks currently used).

Employers are advised to keep records of employee pay for the 52 weeks prior to 6 April 2020 and continue to do so thereafter.

Changes to the statement of written particulars

From 6 April 2020 all new employees and workers will have the right to receive a statement of written particulars from their first day of employment (Part 2 of the Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018). As part of the extended right in addition to the current information that must be provided, the statement of written particulars should also include:

  • conditions of a probationary period, including its duration;
  • normal working hours, the days of the week the worker is required to work, and whether or not such hours or days may be variable, and if they may be how they vary or how that variation is to be determined;
  • details of other types of paid leave;
  • details of any training entitlement provided by the employer, any part of that training entitlement which the employer requires the worker to complete, and any other training which the employer requires the worker to complete and which the employer will not bear the cost of.

Given the new obligation, employers are advised to start preparation of the statement of written particulars which must include every element of the new requirement during the recruitment stage and review their current statements and contracts of employment.

IR35 tax rules will be extended to the private sector

From 6 April 2020, changes to IR35 rules will be implemented for medium and large businesses in the private sector. Small businesses will not be caught by the changes. Under the new regime, for all contracts entered into, or payments made on or after 6 April 2020, medium and large private sector businesses will become responsible for assessing the employment status of the off-payroll workers they engage. Responsibility for accounting for tax and national insurance will shift to the party who pays for the individual's services.

It is paramount that businesses caught by the changes carry out an assessment of their workforce to identify whether the new rules will apply to their workers, review their contracts, status and pay arrangements.

Amendments to agency workers rules

From 6 April 2020, once agency workers have completed 12 weeks’ continuous service working in the same role, they will be entitled to equal pay to workers who are engaged directly by the employer.

New parental bereavement leave

A potential major shake-up of most parental rights is anticipated in 2020.

For example, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 is expected to come into force in April 2020 providing bereaved parents with the right to two weeks leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Employers will be advised to consider a written bereavement leave policy to provide certainty and structure at a difficult time; be considerate of the requests for time off for religious observances on death and mindful of the possible long-term effects of bereavement, such as changes in performance, behaviour or sickness absence.

How can we help

If you would like further information, advice or assistance on preparing for changes to employment law due in 2020, please do not hesitate to contact an employment solicitor Irina Polyakova at Eaton Smith LLP on 01484 821344.