Don’t get caught out: Contracts of employment need to be changed, the processes for the issuing of contracts need to be change. Please read this important update.
Despite all the chaos caused by COVID-19, the world and businesses are still moving forwards (albeit sometimes very differently!), and as such, as far as we know, there are a number of employment law changes that came into force on the 6th April 2020, which you really need to know about and be prepared for.
We have of course seen numerous employment changes already, particularly in relation to the IR35 changes being postponed for a year, the introduction of Furlough Leave and support for the self-employed, but this Blast will concentrate on the employment law changes from April 2020.
- 🔎 For more information about furlough leave please see our Blast here.
- 🔎 For information on the postponed IR35 changes please see here.
- 🔎 For information on managing the Coronavirus, layoffs and redundancies please see here.
1.Issuing Contracts of Employment and Changes to Content of Contracts
From 6 April 2020 all new employees and workers will have the right to receive either a Contract of Employment or a statement of written particulars on or before the first day of employment, rather than 8 weeks as is the current requirement.
Additionally, your contracts will need to include a greater number of clauses than previously, the following information must now be included in a contract of employment:
- The days of the week the individual will be working, whether these hours will vary and how they will vary
- Details of paid leave entitlement (including maternity, paternity etc) or details of where this can be found
- Details of remuneration and benefits offered
- Any probationary period, its length and any conditions attached to it
- Any training entitlement provided by the employer, including whether any training is mandatory and/or must be paid for by the worker
- Any entitlement to paid leave, including maternity leave and paternity leave (or details about where this information can be found)
- Details of any mandatory training, provided by the employer, which the worker must complete, and any mandatory training that is required which the employer will not pay for
- Details of the length of temporary or fixed-term work
For current staff, you do not have to give them this information straight away. An employee can however can request this information, including up to three months after their employment ends, and, if they do request it, you will have 1 month to respond to the request
Additionally, if there is a change to an employees’ terms and conditions after 6th April 2020 that relates to the points above then you should inform them of this change within one month.
Recommendation: We recommend you check that processes are in place to make sure that staff and workers receive a Contract of Employment of Statement of Written Particulars by day 1 (best practice is to ensure that this documentation is signed before they start work so there’s no confusion or miscommunication at a later date).
Additionally, you will need to review your Contracts of Employment to make sure that they are updated and include all the new sections detailed above. If you have no time or hate the paperwork, contact us and we can do it quickly and easily so you are not distracted from the important stuff at this difficult time for all organisations.
Alternatively, if you are a Docs Wizard member, you can download updated contracts as part of your membership. If you would like more information about Docs Wizard, contact us.
2.Parental Bereavement Leave
Parental bereavement leave will come into force on 6th April 2020 and will allow employees who suffer the death of a child under the age of 18 to take one or two consecutive weeks off within 56 weeks of the death of the child. If they have continuous service of at least 26 weeks before the child’s death, and weekly average earnings over the lower-earning limit will also be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay, paid at the statutory rate of £151.20 per week, or 90% of the average weekly earnings where this is lower.
Recommendation: You will need a parental leave policy and this should be included in your handbook or other policy documents. You will also need to review accompanying policies such as compassionate leave and so on to ensure both clarity and that there is no duplication. If you have other priorities at the present time or simply hate the paperwork 😊 contact us and we can create bespoke documents for you. If you are a Docs Wizard member, you can download all these template policies as part of your membership.
3.Changes to National Minimum Wage
There will be the usual annual changes to the National Minimum Wage:
- For the over 25s, the hourly rate will increase from £8.21 to £8.72
- For the 21 – 24 year olds, the hourly rate will increase from £7.70 to £8.20
- For the 18 – 20 year olds, the hourly rate will increase from £6.15 to £6.45
- For under 18s, it will increase from £4.35 to £4.55
- For apprentices, it will increase from £3.90 to £4.15
Recommendation: We recommend you review your rates of pay, adjust them where necessary and appropriate and inform employees of the changes. Don’t forget to adjust any current job ads too.
4.Holiday Pay Reference Period
Currently most employers will calculate holiday pay for their variable hours workers, based on their average earnings in the previous 12 weeks. From 6th April 2020, this reference period will be changed from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, which it is hoped will provide a more accurate, fairer figure.
Recommendation: We recommend you review your method of calculating holiday pay for variable hours workers e.g. term time employees, seasonal workers and so on, making sure that you are using the new 52 week reference period. Also check that your payroll staff are fully up to speed with this change.
The “Swedish derogation”, is a loophole which has existed for some time which allows agencies to decide not to match the pay of agency staff to permanent staff when working for the same employer for more than 12 weeks, as long as they have paid the agency workers continuously.
As of the start of the new tax year, 6th April 2020, this loophole will be closed and this will no longer be allowed.
Recommendation: Check that you are not making use of this loophole!
6.Information and consultation arrangements
Under the current regulations employees have the right to be involved in workplace discussions about key information e.g. redundancy proposals. At the moment if there’s a request from at least 10% of the workforce (which includes at least 15 people) then the Company has an obligation to put a consultation forum in place. However, from April this threshold will be reduced to 2% (although the 15 employee minimum threshold will remain).
Recommendation: No action, but be aware in case you receive a request and don’t currently have consultation arrangements in place.
How we can help your business
If you would like any support with any of these changes or with layoffs, furlough, redundancies, contract changes, consultation, election of staff representatives etc. please contact us.
We will shortly write a blast on how to elect staff reps when people are already furloughed or working remotely if you are about to begin a consultation process.