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At this time of year we always see a number of employment law changes. Recognising that employers probably already have plenty of workplace challenges at this difficult time, we hope that this update will provide a helpful and manageable summary for all.

As ever, do get in touch if we can help answer any questions you may have.

Changes to Employment Particulars

From 6 April the ‘section 1 statement of employment particulars’ must be given on the first day of employment rather than within two months (except for certain information in relation to pensions, any collective agreements and training rights, which can be given later and in instalments) and regardless of how long the employment is to last for.

The other significant change in this area is that the section 1 statement must now also be provided to workers who are engaged on or after 6 April 2020, as well as employees.

There is also a change to the information that is required to be included in the section 1 statement. Additionally, the following must also be included:

  • in relation to hours of work, details of the days of the week the worker (or employee) is required to work and whether or not such hours or days may be variable and, if they may be, how they vary or how that variation is to be determined;
  • any terms and conditions relating to any paid leave (other than holiday or sick leave);
  • any other benefits not covered elsewhere in the written statement;
  • details of any probationary period, including conditions applicable to it and its duration;
  • details of any training entitlement provided by the employer;
  • any part of that training entitlement which is compulsory; and
  • particulars of any other compulsory training which the employer will not pay for.

Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay

Following the  Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 passed in September last year, new regulations introducing two weeks’ paid bereavement leave for parents following the death of a child aged under 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy come into effect on 6 April.

The new regulations allow a parent to take either one or two weeks’ bereavement leave, to be taken together or separately, regardless of how long they have been employed by their current employer.

Further, if the parents have been employed by their current employer for longer than 6 months/26 weeks and whose weekly average earnings are over the lower earnings limit will also be paid Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP) during the leave at the lower of £151.20 per week (currently for 2020/2021) or 90% of salary.

There are fairly complex notice provisions in the regulations and so employers may wish to introduce a short policy explaining to employees what steps need to be taken in order to apply for the paid leave. They should also review any existing compassionate leave policy to take account of this new right.

Two weeks is the longest entitlement worldwide and it is estimated that this new right will help to support around 10,000 parents a year in the UK.

Increase in Compensation Limits and a Week’s Pay

The maximum amount of a week’s pay (used for calculating various awards including statutory redundancy payments and unfair dismissal basic awards) will increase to £538 and the maximum unfair dismissal compensatory award will increase to £88,519 from 6 April.

Changes to the National Minimum Wage

With effect from 6 April changes will be made to the NMW in order to reduce burdens on businesses employing salaried staff (those paid an annual salary in equal instalments) from complying with the NMW rules, without removing protections or benefits for workers. Changes include allowing workers on salaried hours to be paid in additional equal instalments, such as fortnightly or four-weekly. Employers may choose a calculation year for their salaried hours’ workers and any salary premium received by a worker (i.e. an additional sum for working in particular circumstances e.g. at night) will be discounted from their remuneration for minimum wage purposes.

Working Time Regulations and Annual Leave

New Regulations change the reference period in the Working Time Regulations 1998 for calculating annual leave pay from 12 to 52 weeks from 6 April.

Termination Payments Attract Employer NICs

Previously, scheduled to take effect from 2018 and then 2019, now from 6 April new legislation makes employer NICs payable on termination payments above £30,000.

Statutory Pay Rates Increase

5 April: The rates for Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and Statutory Shared Parental Pay all increase from £148.68 to £151.20 per week.

6 April: The rate for Maternity Allowance increases from £148.68 to £151.20 per week.

6 April: The rate for Statutory Sick Pay increases from £94.25 to £95.85 per week.

Agency Workers

The Agency Workers Regulations 2019 come into force revoking the 2010 Regulations which allow agency workers to opt out of equal pay entitlements which become available after 12 weeks in the same role.

Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding the issues discussed in this article.

E: / T: +44 (0)1252 821792

HR, Employment Law and Immigration Solicitors

+44 (0)1252 821792