Employment Law Update for April 2020

April is always a key time within the year where we see change to employment law.

Changes to written statement of employment particulars

There are 3 important changes that apply from 6th April 2020

  1. All “workers” employed on or after 6th April 2020 will be entitled to a written statement of employment particulars (the contract).
  2. Employees and workers must be provided with their written statement on or before their first day of employment.  This is a key change as it used to be within the first 8 weeks of employment. 
  3. There is additional information that written statements will need to contain:
    • Hours and days of the week the worker / employee is required to work, whether they may be varied and how
    • Entitlements to any paid leave
    • Any other benefits not covered elsewhere in the written statement
    • Details of any probationary period
    • Details of any training provided by the employer

Changes to holiday pay calculations

From 6th April 2020, the reference period to calculate a week’s pay for holiday pay purposes will be extended from the previous 12 weeks of work to the previous 52 weeks.

There has been lots of debate over the past couple of years with regards holiday pay and whether bonus and overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay.

Holiday pay should be calculated on the basis of the employee’s normal pay and recent case law means that where an employee normally works overtime, or gets paid a bonus such as commission, this should be included in the calculation of their holiday pay.

What does this mean???

Ultimately, it means that if an employee has worked a settled pattern of overtime over a period of time, payment for that overtime is pay that they normally receive and must therefore be included in holiday pay. Where there is no settled pattern of overtime, the employer should calculate average pay over a 52 weeks reference period leading up to the period of annual leave.

It will mean it becomes even more important for you to keep track of employees’ working time throughout the year. This includes overtime, to ensure they are correctly remunerated whilst on annual leave and in some cases, working out processes with third party payroll providers.

Increases in National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

The following rates are effective 1st April 2020:

  • The National Living Wage (NLW) rate for workers aged over 25 years will increase from £8.21 to £8.72 per hour
  • The rate for workers aged 21 to under 25 years will increase from £7.70 to £8.20 per hour
  • The development rate for 18 to under 21 years olds will increase from £6.15 to £6.45 per hour.
  • The rate for under 18 years who are no longer of compulsory school age will increase from £4.35 to £4.55 per hour.
  • The apprentice rate will increase from £3.90 to £4.15 per hour.

We encourage you to assess the pay of your workforce to ensure that you are paying in line with the above rates.  Remember the risk for not complying is a fine of up to £20,000 and being named and shamed.

Increased statutory family and sick pay rates

Statutory maternity (SMP), paternity (SPP), adoption (SAP) and shared parental pay (ShPP) is expected to rise from £148.68 to £151.20 a week.  This increase normally occurs on the first Sunday in April, which will be 5th April.  The weekly rate for statutory sick pay will rise from £92.05 to £94.25.

Statutory sick pay (SSP) is due to rise from £94.25 to £95.85 from 6th April 2020.

Parental bereavement leave and pay

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 has now been passed by Royal Assent and is expected to come into force in April.

It will give all employed parents the right to at least 2 weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to paid leave at the statutory rate (still to be confirmed) and other employees will be entitled to unpaid leave.

Changes to agency workers’ rights

There are three important changes to agency workers’ rights which will apply from April 6th 2020:

  1. Abolition of the Swedish Derogation (sometimes referred to as ‘pay between assignments’ contracts). Previously agency workers could agree a contract which would remove their right to equal pay with permanent counterparts after 12 weeks working at the same assignment. From 6th April 2020, these contracts will no longer be permissible, and all agency workers, after 12 weeks, will be entitled to the same rate of pay as their permanent counterparts.
  2. All agency workers will be entitled to a key information document that more clearly sets out their employment relationships and terms and conditions with their agency.
  3. Agency workers who are considered to be employees will be protected from unfair dismissal or suffering a detriment if the reasons are related to asserting rights associated with The Agency Worker Regulations.

Changes to ICE (Information and Consultation of Employees) Regulations

From 6th April 2020, there will be a reduction in the percentage of employees required to make a valid request for an agreement on the sharing of information and consultation within the workplace. Currently it is at least 10% of the workforce who must put in a request before an employer is obliged to take steps to comply with this right. This percentage will be reduced to 2%. The requirement that at least 15 employees make the request will remain.