7 employment law changes coming in 2020
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It’s a busy time for changes to employment law. Below are seven key changes to be aware of and to plan for now, that are definitely happening. We expect most of these to come into effect in April.

And there are even more employment law changes outlined in the Queen’s Speech in December, which we will no doubt get more detail on as the year progresses. We expect that some of these might become law in 2020, too. It’s going to be a busy year on the HR front!

Seven key employment law changes

  1. National Minimum Wage rates are increasing
  2. Holiday pay calculations for workers with irregular hours are changing
  3. Day one employee / worker rights to a written statement of employment particulars
  4. Agency workers are getting increased rights
  5. IR35 : Larger private companies will become responsible for checking contractors’ employment status
  6. New parental bereavement leave rights for employees
  7. Brexit is happening, with an implementation period until 31 December 2020

 

1. National Minimum Wage rates are increasing

From 1st April 2020 national minimum wage rates are going up. The increases are significantly higher than in previous years and are likely to add to the pressure on small businesses. The increase in the National Living Wage, for example, is over 6% and well ahead of inflation.

  • National Living Wage for workers 25 and over: £8.72 (from £8.21)
  • National Minimum Wage for workers aged 21 – 24: £8.20 (from £7.70)
  • National Minimum Wage for workers aged 18 – 20: £6.45 (from £6.15)
  • National Minimum Wage for school leavers under 18: £4.55 (from £4.35)
  • Apprentices minimum wage: £4.15 (from £3.90)

The announcement of these increased rates is later than normal, giving businesses less time to plan before the changes take effect.

Our HR Software can help deal with these changes quickly and efficiently, alerting you to possible underpayments and helping you with planning and communication to staff.

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2. Holiday pay calculations for workers with irregular hours are changing

The reference period you need to use to calculate average holiday pay for workers with irregular hours will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks on 6th April 2020. This is one of the elements of the Good Work Plan being introduced by the government.

Before April you’ll need to update your contracts of employment and holiday policies, as well as making sure that your calculation reference period is changed in good time. Access to our software and our expert advice team can help take the headache out of dealing with these changes if you are one of those who employ people on variable hours.

3. Employees and workers will become entitled to a written statement of employment particulars on the first day of work /employment

From April 2020, both employees and workers will be entitled to a written statement of their employment details from day one of their employment. This is another outcome of the Good Work Plan.

This is a change from the current position where employers have two months to provide a statement, and it’s not previously been a requirement for workers.

Also, extra details will need to be included in statements from April, such as details of paid maternity leave entitlements, and any probation period and benefits entitlements.

For many businesses, these new requirements will mean changing their onboarding process for new employees and workers to bring forward their admin processes.

Using an HR Software system like ours that can generate written statements for you will save you time and effort tailoring statements to each new starter.

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4. Agency workers are getting increased rights

The other main changes coming from the Good Work Plan relate to agency workers (people employed by an agency but who work at a different organisation, which pays the agency for the work):

  • All agency workers will be entitled to the same rate of pay as their permanent counterparts after working on an assignment for 12 weeks.
  • All agency workers will be entitled to a key facts statement setting out their employment relationship and their terms and conditions with the agency they’re working for.
  • Agency workers that are deemed 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.

These changes take effect from 6th April 2020. If you use agency workers, don’t delay in contacting the agencies you work with to make sure they are up to speed with these changes.

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5. IR35: The responsibility for checking contractors’ employment status could become yours soon

Medium and larger businesses will take on responsibility for deciding a contractor’s employment status for tax purposes and also for accounting to HMRC and deducting tax and NICs. (This is already the case for public sector employers.) This applies to contractors operating through personal service companies. We currently expect this change to apply from 6 April 2020.

The new rules will create additional burdens for those using contractors and may discourage some businesses from using contractors at all, even when they are genuinely self-employed. The good news is that there is a small business exemption for those meeting any 2 of these 3 conditions:

  • you have an annual turnover of £10.2m or less;
  • you have a balance sheet total of £5.1 million or less; or
  • you have 50 employees or less.

6. New parental bereavement leave rights for employees

A new law will give the right to employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or who suffer a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy, to take two weeks’ unpaid leave. We expect this law to come into force in April.

This is a day one right, so applies regardless of how long they have worked for you, and extends to adopters, foster parents, guardians, and relatives or family friends who have taken responsibility for the child’s care.

If the employee has worked for you for at least 26 weeks, they will also receive statutory pay during the leave period.

If you have a compassionate leave policy, this will need to be updated before April and the changes communicated to staff, both things we can help with.

7. Brexit is happening, with an implementation period until 31 December 2020

As the result of the general election in December was so decisive, businesses can now plan with some certainty that Brexit is happening, with an agreed withdrawal agreement to be in place by 31st January 2020. There is an implementation period until the end of December 2020, during which we still continue to operate under EU rules.

The EU Settlement Scheme continues in force and we strongly advise all those who employ EU nationals to encourage them, if they haven’t already done so, to apply to the scheme so that they can continue to live and work in the UK

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As you can see, there is plenty for employers to grapple with in the next few months! In addition, the Queen’s Speech in December, setting out the new government’s plans, also referred to a new Employment Bill, looking at a range of other measures to enhance employee rights, including:

  • the right to request a more stable contract,
  • extended maternity and pregnancy redundancy protections
  • leave for neonatal care
  • additional unpaid carers’ leave,
  • increased rights to flexible working,
  • rights for workers to keep their tips in full, and
  • stronger enforcement of workers’ rights.

If you want help dealing with any of the changes coming in 2020 that we already know about, or you want to rely on expert HR advice and know-how to guide you through whatever other employment law changes 2020 might bring, then please get in touch to see how we can help.

How citrusHR helps hundreds of smalls businesses just like you:

Expert HR Advice

Our employment law and HR experts ensure that our customers’ employment contracts and policies are always up to date and are available for friendly, tailored advice over the phone.

Each month, citrusHR customers receive legal updates, written in plain English for people running small businesses, so they can quickly assess what’s relevant to them and whether any changes are needed to keep their business on the right side of the law.

Simple to use software

Our HR software can quickly and easily save you lots of time and help you to stay compliant with a whole range of HR issues, from calculating holiday to getting payments right. It also means you can keep all data about your staff in one place, and automatically deletes information, helping you to meet your data protection (GDPR) obligations.

Get in touch:

Email us info@citrushr.com or give us a call on 0333 014 3888 to find out more about how we can help your business with friendly, expert HR support.

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