December 9, 2019

2020 employment law changes you need to be aware of

How is employment law changing in 2020? Well, the way you calculate holiday pay is changing, plus you’ll have to issue written terms and conditions on day one of employment, and parental bereavement leave will be introduced.

So, here’s a summary of these three 2020 employment law changes that will affect your business.

1. Changes to holiday pay calculations

When you calculate holiday pay for workers without fixed hours or pay, the current reference period is 12 weeks. From April 2020, the government is increasing the holiday pay reference period to 52 weeks.

The only exception to this is during a worker’s first year of employment. For example, if an employee had been employed for 30 weeks at the time of their leave, the previous 30 weeks would be used to calculate their holiday pay.

So why is the reference period changing?

The primary reason for the change is inconsistent payment of holiday pay. This is often due to fluctuations in pay because of seasonal variations. Leave following a busy period could be paid at a higher rate than leave following a quieter period. The new change should even out these peaks and troughs.

2. Provision of Statement of Main Terms

Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 requires employers to provide a Statement of Main Terms of Employment to employees within the first eight weeks of employment.

In reality it has always been good practice to do this on or before the start of employment. It ensures there is a clear written record of obligations of both the employer and employee.

The legislation is being amended and from April 2020 employees will be entitled to this statement from the very first day of their employment. It will also be a right of a ‘worker’ (as opposed to an employee) to receive a statement of main terms which was not previously the case.

Employers will also need to provide additional information. The Statement of Main Terms (often referred to as an ‘SMT’) will need to include:

  • Conditions of sick pay
  • Maternity and paternity pay
  • Details of any probationary period
  • Notice to be given by either party to terminate the contract
  • All benefits comprising ‘pay’ (vouchers, health insurance, food, accommodation etc. if applicable)
  • Specific details of the expected days and hours of work (if this will vary it must state this)

How to prepare for these changes

As you can see there are a lot of changes and we urge you to plan ahead to ensure you’re in a position to comply with the new requirements.

The good news for Moorepay customers who subscribe to our HR Services is that most documentation is already compliant or easily adjusted. We will also provide guidance about issuing written particulars on day one of employment. We’ll offer model wording so that you are not inadvertently compromised if you do issue written particulars in advance. For instance, what if you withdraw a conditional offer of employment having sent out a contract?

If you’re not a Moorepay customer but like the sound of the help we can offer, contact us or download our HR Services brochure to find out more.

3. Parental Bereavement Leave

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act was enacted in September 2018. It seeks to assist working parents with paid time off to deal with the immediate aftermath of the passing of a child. The right will apply from day one of employment. Working parents would be entitled to the statutory leave in the unfortunate circumstances of the death of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The period of leave will be two weeks, and, subject to certain criteria, the employee will be entitled to pay during the two-week period. The Regulations that will deal with the specifics haven’t been released yet. We can expect to hear more on this once the upcoming general election has taken place. However, we do expect the right to come into force at some point in 2020.

Next Steps

Moorepay customers who would like support with any upcoming 2020 employment law changes can contact our advice line on 0345 073 0240. If you’re interested in finding out more about our HR Services you can contact us or download our brochure.

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About the author

Stuart Morley

About the author

Stuart Morley

Having completed degrees In Law, Criminal Justice and Federal Politics, Stuart finished his training at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2003. He was then awarded a scholar's bursary from the Honorable Society of the Inner Temple in October 2003 and called to the Bar of England and Wales. Stuart's experience handling hundreds of cases enables him to identify risk efficiently, working closely with Moorepay's advice service to place our clients in strong positions should they ever be sued. At Moorepay, Stuart has practiced exclusively in Employment Law, representing employers regularly in Tribunals across the UK in cases covering Wages, Breach of Contract, Unfair Dismissal, Discrimination, Transfer of Undertakings, Whistleblowing, Working Time and many others.

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