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Employment Law Changes from April 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Each year in April, the latest in terms of employment law updates to our legal system take effect. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be just starting out with employment law now – back when I joined the wonderful world of HR, it was pretty easy, DDA, Sex Discrimination, Race Relations Act and a few other bits; and Bobs your uncle you had it down. Now the intricacies of employment law are many, maze-like and politically arguable at every turn!

Still, we are where we are, and April has just passed so it’s important to keep abreast of the latest in the long line of legal particulars. This blog is a log of some of those changes that could impact you and your business – along with a few notes of my own for good measure!

Parental bereavement leave & pay act 2018 is passed

The act gives all employed parents the right to two weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 years or have a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy on. They may also qualify for pay in this period if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Firstly, I am pleased that this now a legal right.  The pain of losing a child must be unbearable,and employers have a duty of care to do all they can to support their people in the grieving process and then help facilitate a back to work.

Whilst pay may not be possible for all employers to provide long term. The weighing up of financial cost to the company in supporting and paying their people v forcing their people back too soon following bereavement of a child or miscarriage should be realistic – it should be about ‘can we support them?’ and if the answer is yes:‘then we should’.  

At the very commercial least, in forcing people back to work, the damage is not only the emotional cost to the employee in returning to work too soon, it could be an added financial burden for the company in the longer-term implications around the psychological status of the employee, their work performance, emotional state and longer-term mental health battles that arise as a result. Higher risk of losing the employee who may have been a very loyal person until that point and the overall reputation of the company on how they treat their staff.

These are all considerations employers should be taking into account when deciding on policy to support their people through hard times.

No2 on the list

is the right to written statements of employment particulars – in short, workers now have the same right to written statements of employment as employees.

All workers employed on or after 6th April 2020 are entitled to a written statement of employment particulars on or before their first day of employment. These particulars must contain a minimum of:

  • The hours and days of the week the worker/employee is required to work, whether they need to be varied and the details of how (if applicable)
  • Entitlements to any leave that is paid
  • Any other benefits not covered anywhere else in the written statement
  • Details around probationary periods (if applicable)
  • Details of training that the employer will provide

I think this is a good move, it helps clarify expectations and acts as a formal communication between employee/worker and employer. We can all improve our communication and this goes some way in protecting the workforce and employers from misunderstandings. It does also mean however that,where these didn’t exist before, there is an additional admin requirement – and we all love an admin requirement don’t we!

The third and final one is Holiday pay calculations

the reference period used to be just 12 weeks, but now you need to calculate a ‘week’s pay’ over the previous 52 weeks of employment when calculating holiday pay rates for your people.

Depending on whether pay is seasonal or not, this could be either a good thing or a bad thing for both employees and employers! This may not impact everyone, but it’s employment law changes like this one that I often find are the ‘catch-you-out’ markers. So, make sure you’re calculating holiday pay according to the 52-week rule from now on.

Other legislative updates include changes to agency workers’rights and ICE (Information and Consultation of Employees).  

Call  01926 754 085 or email us  on info@warwickhr.com to discuss any of these changes and the impact they might have on your business.

We’re here to ensure you stay ahead of the employment law maze. We can support with legal advice and guidance, policy writing and updating, all aspects of HR and in training your staff, so call or email today and let’s get started.

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