Employment Law changes that came into force today

Today (6 April), a number of Employment Law changes take effect that employers must comply with. As well as dealing with the impact of COVID-19, employers need to be aware of these important changes:

Changes to written statements of terms and conditions

Employers are now required to provide a written statement to all workers (not just employees) on or before the first day of employment, rather than within two months of them starting work. There is also additional information to be included in the written statement, such as specific days and times of work and any training requirements/entitlements..

Holiday pay calculations

The new rules also amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 to increase the reference period for determining an average week’s pay (for the purposes of calculating holiday pay) from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, or the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been employed, if less than 52 weeks.

The introduction of parental bereavement leave and pay

Parents of a child who dies, or who have a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, now have a new statutory right to take up to two weeks’ parental bereavement leave, with pay at a statutory minimum rate depending on their length of service and earnings.

Agency workers

Employers can no longer pay agency workers less than their own workers in certain circumstances. Under what is known as the “Swedish derogation”, agency workers could previously exchange their right to equal pay for a contract guaranteeing pay between assignments. This derogation has now been abolished, meaning employers must ensure that agency workers who have completed the 12-week qualifying period are paid equally to directly recruited employees.

Employment businesses will also be required to provide a key information document to work-seekers and, where applicable, to any person to be supplied by the work-seeker to carry out the work.

National Minimum Wage increases

From 1 April 2020, hourly rates increased to £8.20 for workers aged 21 to 24, to £6.45 for workers aged 18 to 20 and to £4.55 for workers aged 16 or 17. The National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over also increased to £8.72 per hour.

Increases in statutory payments

From 5 April 2020, the weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increased to £151.20.

The weekly rate of statutory sick pay also increased to £95.85. Please note that due to the impact of COVID-19, the Government has announced that statutory sick pay will be payable from the first day of an employee’s sickness, rather than after three days.

There are also new limits on statutory redundancy pay from today. Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age. The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount of £538.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact our  employment team on 01228 552600 or 01524 548494.

This alert does not provide a full statement of the law and readers are advised to take legal advice before taking any action based on the information contained herein.

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