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April’s employment law changes

24 March 2020

While employers are understandably preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic and its implications, a number of significant employment law reforms are due to take effect early next month. Here’s a brief round-up.

Written statements

From 6 April 2020, the rules requiring employers to supply staff with a written statement of employment particulars are being revamped. They will have to be provided to those with “worker” status in addition to employees, by day one of employment. More information will need to be set out in the statement, including details of the full benefit and remuneration package.

Parental bereavement leave

In January, the government finalised the legislation to implement an entitlement to two weeks' paid bereavement leave for working parents who lose a child under the age of 18. The new right will come into force with effect from 6 April 2020.

Agency workers

The law on agency workers is changing from 6 April 2020 with the abolition of the “Swedish Derogation”, which currently provides that certain agency workers are not covered by the principle of equal treatment. Businesses impacted need to decide what to do about any agency workers on Swedish Derogation contracts and, where appropriate, migrate them onto standard agency contracts or take them on as direct hires.

Holiday pay

The reference period for calculating statutory holiday pay is increasing from 12 weeks to 52 weeks on 6 April 2020, which may create practical problems in relation to people who work intermittently for just some weeks of the year. Employers should review their current approach to calculation and identify any changes required

Information and consultation

Also taking effect on 6 April is a reduction in the threshold for demanding information and consultation arrangements under the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004, from 10% to just 2% of employees.

New employer NIC charge on termination payments

Employers will be liable to pay employers’ national insurance contributions at 13.8% on any payments made on or after 6 April 2020 to compensate employees for the termination of their employment if, and to the extent that, the payment exceeds £30,000 – further details here.

IR35 reforms postponed

Note that major planned reforms to the operation of the IR35 regime have been postponed due to coronavirus and will now take effect in a year’s time on 6 April 2021.

New rates and limits

It’s also the time of the year to get up to speed with the annual increases in limits and statutory payments. Here are the most important changes taking effect next month:

  • Unfair dismissal/redundancy pay. With effect from 6 April 2020, the limit on a “week’s pay” will be £538 (up from £525), which means that the maximum statutory redundancy payment and unfair dismissal basic award will rise to £16,140. The cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £86,444 to £88,519. (Full details in the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2020.)
  • National minimum wage. From 1 April 2020, the new NMW rates are: age 25+ (national living wage) - £8.72; age 21-24 (standard adult rate) - £8.20; age 18-20 (development rate) - £6.45; age 16-17 (young workers rate) - £4.55. The accommodation offset will rise to £8.20 per day. (Full details in the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2020.)
    For further information and guidance on any of the above matters, please get in touch with your usual Lewis Silkin contact.

For further information and guidance on any of the above matters, please get in touch with your usual Lewis Silkin contact.

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Information and consultation

10 July 2020

Employers with at least 50 employees can be required to establish arrangements for informing and consulting their employees on business developments. These arrangements are commonly called ‘works councils’.

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