Employ people? 4 changes that will affect you!

People sat on chairs

Statement of main terms

As part of the provisions of the Governments Good Work Plan, SMTs will become a day one right for both employees and workers from 6 April 2020. Previously, employers have had two months in which to provide this to their employees, meaning that they will need to have the document ready straight away going forward. SMTs will also need to contain additional details for the first time, which are outlined below:

  • The terms and conditions relating to work will extend to cover terms relating to normal hours of work, days of the week the worker will be required to work and whether these days/hours may vary
  • Terms relating to other forms of paid leave such as family-friendly leave
  • Details of other employee benefits, not just those relating to pay, such as benefits in kind or financial benefits
  • Terms relating to probationary periods including those in relation to length and conditions
  • Details of training provision and requirements.

Failure to provide a statement, or where a statement is provided which does not contain the required information, could lead to the employee making a reference to an employment tribunal to determine their terms of employment. Additionally, an employee may receive compensation for a failure to be provided a statement where they win an alternative claim at the employment tribunal.

We know in many cases firms have ‘forgotten’ to provide contracts or terms of employments at all, this also leads to ambiguity when it comes to calculating pay for leave, sickness or maternity pay. Ultimately this will lead to additional costs for the business in terms of obtaining legal advice and the cost of putting things right, it also costs in terms of losing the trust of the employees across the company.

Extension of the holiday pay reference period

As part of another provision of the Good Work Plan, the holiday pay reference period, which is used to calculate the average pay of those who work irregular hours, will be extended from 12 to 52 weeks from 6 April 2020. The aim of this development is to provide a fairer approach to holiday pay when workers are working flexible hours. It will be important for employers to keep track of employees’ working time throughout the year, including overtime, to ensure they are correctly remunerated whilst on annual leave.

Agency workers

From 6 April 2020, agency workers will have a right to receive a key information document to help them make informed choices about the work they accept. This document is required to clarify specific matters including the type of contract the worker is employed under and their minimum rate of pay.

Employers will also no longer be able to make use of Swedish derogation contracts as these contracts, which allow employers to avoid providing agency workers with equal pay after 12 weeks of an assignment, will become unlawful. Once in force, all agency workers will become entitled to equality of pay, when compared to comparable full-time employees, once they reach 12 weeks’ service within one assignment. Employment businesses will have to notify their agency workers of this change by providing them with a written statement by 30 April 2020.

Parental bereavement leave

The right to parental bereavement leave will also become effective in April 2020. Although no exact date has been confirmed, we know that qualifying parents will be entitled to two weeks of paid bereavement leave following the death of a child under the age of 18. The Government consultation explains that ”bereaved parent” will be defined based on the employee’s caring responsibilities for the child to avoid excluding those who are not the child’s legal parents. To qualify, individuals aside from direct parents will need to have the following parental caring responsibilities for the child:

  • Adoptive Parents
  • Legal Guardians
  • Those with Court Orders providing daily care responsibilities
  • Foster Parents
  • Kinship Carers.