8 new changes to employment law you need to be aware of

Annual amends to employment law include the introduction of parental bereavement leave and pay, an increase in the national living wage and new payment terms for agency workers.

Catherine Kerr | Partner and Head of Employment Law

By Catherine Kerr, Partner and Head of Employment

Yesterday, (6 April, 2020), the government announced a new set of changes to employment law that businesses and HR professionals must ensure that they comply with.

As well as adapting to ever-changing legislation on the back of the coronavirus, annual amends to employment law include the introduction of parental bereavement leave and pay, an increase in the national living wage and new payment terms for agency workers.

It is incredibly important that businesses adhere to this updated legislation. I have highlighted some of the most important and impactful changes below.

  1. National Living Wage

From the 1 April 2020, the national living wage for workers increases to the following amounts for each age category:

  • Workers aged over 25 – £8.72 per hour
  • Workers aged 21 to 24 – £8.20 per hour
  • Workers aged 18 to 20 – £6.45 per hour
  • Workers aged 16 or 17 – £4.55 per hour
  • Apprentices – £4.15 per hour
  1. Written Statements

The requirement to provide a written statement of terms for employees is extended to be required for all workers regardless of whether they meet the requirements to be classified as employees.

There are also updates as to what must be contained in the written statements so that such statements include the days and hours of work, duration of probationary period, any benefits, whether or not there are to receive paid leave and any applicable training that employee is to receive.

Employers should review existing contracts to ensure such terms are reflected and put in place a procedure for the issuing of contracts to all workers.

  1. Family Related Pay and Sick Pay

The minimum amount of statutory paternity, maternity, adoption and shared parental pay are to increase on the 5 April 2020 to £151.20 per week.

In addition, statutory sick pay increases to £95.85 per week.

(Employers must also note that in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, they must pay statutory sick pay from the first day of an employee’s sickness absence, rather than the prior system of only being payable after three days of an employees’ sickness absence.)

  1. Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay (“Jacks Law”)

In relation to any parent whose child (under the age of 18) dies on or after the 6 April 2020, they will have a right of two weeks’ leave with pay at the statutory minimum rate. An employer should review their policies to ensure compliance with this law.

  1. Holiday Pay Reference Period

For workers working irregular hours, the reference period for the determination of holiday pay has been increased from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. Any employer should update their holiday pay policies to ensure such changes are reflected.

  1. Agency workers

The ability to pay agency workers wages that differ from an employer’s own workers has been abolished from the 6 April 2020. All workers will now be entitled to the same rate of pay as permanent employees. If an employer has such agency workers, it should ensure compliance with these alterations.

Employers of agency workers should also note that agency workers are entitled to a key information document which details the type of contract and the pay each agency worker will receive for work carried out.

  1. Statutory Redundancy Pay

All employers should be aware of the new weekly wage limit used as part of the calculations for applicable redundancy payment for employees that have worked for more than two years.

This change is the introduction of the new limit of £538 per week. Employers should ensure they are using the new figure in any applicable calculations to be compliant.

  1. Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations

From the 6 April 2020, there is a reduction in the threshold of employees required to request an information and consultation agreement. Employers should be aware of a requirement of 2% of employees rather than the previous 10%, in workplaces with 50 or more employees.

If you have any further queries or questions on the updated changes, please contact me on Catherine.Kerr@primaslaw.co.uk.

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