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Veganuary, the end of Brexit and everything in between

Bang! Straight after the New Year fireworks, an Employment Tribunal held that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010.  By New Year’s Eve this year we should have finished the Brexit transition period, reached a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU and all moved on. Hmm … let’s see. What is more certain is the employment law changes ahead this year.

So what changes should employers, HR, and employees be aware of in 2020?

Employment law changes in 2020

Most of the key changes in employment law this year come into effect on 6 April 2020, so it is important that you start planning for those changes now.  The key changes are:

Day 1 right to a written statement of terms and conditions of employment

Currently employees who have been continuously employed for more than a month have to be given a written statement of the terms and conditions of their employment.  From 6 April 2020 all new employees will have this right from day 1 of their employment.

Holiday pay reference periods will change

Currently workers who work variable hours have their holiday pay calculated by reference to the number of hours worked in the previous 12 weeks to work out average weekly pay for the purposes of calculating their holiday pay entitlement.  From 6 April 2020 the reference period will change to the previous 52 weeks.

The Swedish derogation will be removed

From 6 April 2020 the Swedish derogation in the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 will be removed.  So, after 12 weeks service at a Hirer, an agency worker will be entitled to equal pay with an employee of the Hirer in an equivalent position.  In addition, agency work seekers must be provided with a key facts statement setting out the terms under which they will undertake the work.

IR35 reform – application to private sector

As we explained in our blog in October last year  from 6 April 2020, other than small companies, organisations that hire a contractor directly, or through an agency, will be responsible for getting the assessment of the individual’s employed or self-employed status right.  End users will also have to issue a Status Determination Statement (“SDS”) to each individual contractor confirming their view of the individual’s status and why.

Last week the Government announced a review of the proposed IR35 changes.  However, at present, the 6 April 2020 deadline remains, so watch this space!

New tax on termination payments

From 6 April 2020 any part of a non contractual termination payment over £30,000 will be subject to employer’s National Insurance Contributions.

Parental bereavement leave

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill is expected to become law on 6 April 2020 giving all employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a still birth from the 24th week of pregnancy, two weeks’ unpaid leave as a right from day 1 of their employment.

The Queen’s Speech

The new Government has announced a number of proposed changes to the law currently with no set date for implementation.  Specifics are limited but, in summary, the changes include:

  • The creation of a new single enforcement body to protect workers’ rights
  • The right for workers to request a more stable contract
  • Extended redundancy protections to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination
  • The right for parents to take extended leave for neonatal care
  • One week’s additional leave for unpaid carers
  • The right for workers to keep their tips in full
  • Flexible working by default, unless employers have a good reason not to allow this (subject to consultation).
  • An increase to the National Living Wage.

As always, it is important to prepare for these changes.  If you would like to discuss any of the changes further please do not hesitate to contact Neil Johnston or Leanne Good in our Employment team.

Neil Johnston

+4420 7288 4742
+447557 804907
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