Employment Law Update – 2020

Employment Law Update – 2020

OptHR | Employment Law Update 2020
OptHR | Employment Law Update 2020

Introduction

What an unprecedented few months it has been! In the last few months, many businesses have been focusing on what they need to do to survive, safely. We put together this employment law update 2020 to help businesses navigate today’s ever-changing environment.

Lots of employers are now beginning to think about, and plan for, employees returning to work from furlough and the medium-term plan for their businesses.

As things begin to return to normal, we wanted to remind employers that April was a key month for employment law changes in the UK. The three most significant changes for employers in April 2020 are detailed below.

Written Statements of Employment Particulars (Contracts of Employment)

From 6 April 2020, employers must provide a written statement of employment particulars to all workers, not just employees. This written statement must also be provided by day one of employment; employers will no longer have two months to provide this statement. This updated contract of employment must be provided to all workers whose contracts last for one month or more.

The written statement must also include extra information, which was not previously required, including:

  • How long a job is expected to last, or the end date of a fixed-term contract
  • How much notice the employer and worker are required to give to terminate the agreement
  • Details of eligibility for sick pay
  • Details of other types of paid leave, for example, maternity and paternity leave
  • The duration and conditions of any probationary period
  • All remuneration (not just pay) – essentially all benefits
  • The normal working hours: 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 may vary or how that variation is to be determined
  • Any training entitlement provided by the employer, any part of that training entitlement which the employer required the worker to complete and any other training which the employer requires the worker to complete for which the employer will not bear the cost

These changes will only apply to written statements provided where employment begins on or after 6 April 2020.

Additionally, employers must confirm any changes to the written statement of employment particulars, in writing, within one month of the change taking effect. Your Employee handbooks should also be updated to reflect any changes that you are making within your staff roles too.

Useful Link: https://www.gov.uk/employment-contracts-and-conditions/written-statement-of-employment-particulars

Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay (for Parents and Carers)

The right to parental bereavement leave and pay came into force in April 2020. This will allow parents of a child under the age of 18 who has died to take two weeks’ leave and includes the loss of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy. It will be available to both birth parents or anyone with parental responsibility (including foster parents, guardians, and those who may have taken responsibility for the child’s care in the absence of parents, for example, close relatives) for the child, and can be taken within 56 weeks of the child’s death, in a single period of two weeks or two periods of one week. This allows bereaved parents to take time when they feel they need it, for example, for anniversaries or other significant dates.

Employees will be entitled to parental bereavement leave from day one of their employment, but there will be a qualifying period of 26 weeks for entitlement to parental bereavement pay.

Useful Link: https://www.gov.uk/parental-bereavement-pay-leave

Statutory Rate Increases

Statutory rates increased on 1 April 2020:

  Previous Rate (per hour) New Rate (per hour)
National Living Wage (applicable to workers aged 25 and over) £8.21 £8.72
21-24 year olds £7.70 £8.20
18-20 year olds £6.15 £6.45
Under 18s £4.35 £4.55
Apprenticeships £3.90 £4.15

In addition, the rate for statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay is increased from £148.68 to £151.20 from 5 April 2020.

The rate for statutory sick pay is increased from £94.25 to £95.85 per week from 6 April 2020.

Useful Link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rates-and-thresholds-for-employers-2020-to-2021

Summary

We strongly recommend that employers:

  1. Review their current written statements/contracts of employment and recruitment processes to ensure that all the required information is included, and ensure that procedures are updated to ensure that these are issued prior to the commencement of employment, or on day one of employment at the very latest.
  2. Ensure that they have a Parental Bereavement Leave Policy.
  3. Ensure that they have implemented all new statutory rates.

We also recommend, given what has happened over the last few months, that when reviewing contracts of employment, employers ensure they include robust lay-off and short-time working clauses in order that they have the flexibility to manage unplanned events.

Contact Us

For further information, advice or support in updating your written statements/contracts of employment and policies, please contact us at rachel.wade@opthr.co.uk or call 024 7524 0934

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