Employment law changes

Changes to some aspects of employment law are due to take effect from 6th April 2020.  Employment lawyer Natalie Peacock summarises the changes affecting contracts of employment, pay, tax and agency workers.  

Changes to Written Statement of Particulars

Currently, employers must provide employees who are employed for a term for one month or more a written statement of particulars setting out the basic terms of their employment.  At present, this written statement of particulars must be provided to the employee within two months of the start of their employment.

From 6th April 2020, the right to a written statement of particulars is extended to all employees and workers.  Additionally, the written statement of particulars must be provided to employees and workers by the first day of their employment.

The content of the written statement of particulars has also been extended to include additional information such as:

  • Confirmation of specific days and times that the employee is required to work
  • Clarification of any periods of probation including conditions for completing probation
  • Entitlement to any family friendly leave
  • All benefits provided by the employer
  • Details of training entitlement including training that is not funded by the employer

Increase in Holiday Pay Reference Period

At present, holiday pay for workers who work irregular hours is calculated by averaging the number of hours worked over a pay reference period.  The holiday pay reference period is currently 12 weeks.  

From 6th April 2020, the holiday pay reference period will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks or, for those workers who have worked less than 52 weeks, the total number of weeks they have worked.  

Amendments to Agency Workers Pay

Currently, agency workers who have completed 12 weeks’ continuous service in the same role are entitled to receive the same pay and basic working conditions as permanent employees.  However, agencies can opt out of equalizing the agency worker’s pay through use of the Swedish derogation model.  This provides for agency workers to work under a contract of employment with the agency who would pay them between assignments.  

From 6th April 2020, the Swedish derogation model will be abolished.  This means that all agency workers who have satisfied the twelve week qualifying period will be entitled to the same pay and basic rights as permanent employees.  

In addition, agency workers are entitled to a key facts document, which provides them with basic information about the type of contract they will be employed under and their minimum rate of pay.  

Changes to IR35 (Tax) Rules

Currently, the IR35 rules apply where an individual personally performs services for a client through an intermediary.  If the services were provided under a contract the worker would be regarded as being employed by the client for tax purposes.  It is currently the intermediary’s responsibility to determine whether IR35 applies.  

From 6th April 2020, private sector employers with 50 or more employees or an annual turnover of 10.2 million will be responsible for deciding whether IR35 applies and for deducting tax and national insurance contributions from contractors fees.  


Parental Bereavement Leave

New laws have been introduced for parental bereavement to take effect from 6th April 2020.  This will give bereaved parents the right to two weeks’ leave and, for bereaved parents employed with a minimum of 26 weeks’ service, entitlement to statutory parental bereavement pay.


Statutory Pay Rates

It is anticipated there will be a review of the statutory pay rates including maternity pay, paternity pay and sick pay together with a review of the national minimum wage, which is expected to increase in April 2020.

The above changes will be coming into force very soon, so it is imperative that employers prepare for these changes now especially the extension of the right to a written statement of particulars, which must be provided, to employees and workers from day one of their employment.  

If you would like to discuss employment matters in more detail please do not hesitate to contact me, Natalie Peacock, on 01603 625231 or by email nlpeacock@cozens-hardy.com.

To find out more, call us on: 01603 625231