• Employment law changes from April 2020 – Is your organisation ready?

    Published: March 26 2020

    Despite the current uncertainty brought by the coronavirus pandemic, it is worth highlighting that there remains a number of employment changes, effective from April 2020, that organisations should not lose focus of.

    Here is a reminder of some of the key changes coming into force next month and what you should consider doing to ensure that your organisation remains compliant.

    National Minimum Wage and other statutory rate increases

    The rates for National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage will increase from 1 April 2020, to:

    Apprentices – £4.15
    Under 18 (no longer of compulsory school age) – £4.55
    Aged at least 18 but under 21 – £6.45
    Aged at least 21 but under 25 – £8.20
    Aged 25 and over – £8.72

    In addition, statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental leave will increase to £151.20 from 5 April 2020. The rate for Statutory Sick Pay is also expected to increase to £95.85 on 6 April 2020.

    What can you do?

    We advise you allow sufficient time to review your current pay rates to ensure that they comply with the relevant changes.

    Written statements of particulars

    From 6 April 2020, employers will not only be required to give a written statement on or before the first day of employment but as this entitlement has been extended to all workers they will need to ensure that all workers and not just employees receive their written statement.

    In addition, the information that is provided in the statement will be expanded to included extra information on variable working hours, paid leave other than sick pay, benefits, probationary periods and training.

    What can you do?

    Review your current contracts and recruitment processes to ensure that all the required information is included in contracts and that procedures are in place to ensure documentation is issued on or before the first day of work.

    IR35 in the private sector

    From 6 April 2020, medium and large private sector businesses will become responsible for assessing the employment status of the off-payroll workers they engage. The rules are aimed at reducing tax avoidance for off-payroll contractors working through Personal Service Companies (PSC).

    What can you do?

    • Review your current workforce (including those engaged through agencies and other intermediaries) to identify those individuals who are supplying their services through PSCs.
    • Determine if the new off-payroll rules will apply for any contracts that will extend beyond April 2020. Businesses are encouraged to use the ‘Check employment status for tax’ service to do this.
    • Start talking to contractors at the earliest opportunity about whether the off-payroll rules will apply to them.
    • Put processes in place to determine if the off-payroll rules apply to future engagements.

    Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay

    This year, the government are set to introduce a new parental bereavement leave legislation, meaning that parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child will be entitled to two weeks’ statutory leave

    The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act entitles parents of a child under the age of 18 who have lost the child or have suffered a stillbirth of 24 weeks or more into pregnancy to take two weeks’ leave from day one of their employment. In addition, those with parental responsibility of a child under 18 will also be entitled.

    However, to be eligible for statutory Parental Bereavement Pay, additional conditions apply.

    Parental Bereavement Leave can be taken within 56 weeks of the child’s death, in a block of two weeks, or two blocks of one week.

    What can you do?

    • Consider having a written bereavement leave policy in place, as this can provide certainty and security at a difficult time, however, ensure that it is not discriminatory in any way.
    • Prepare for the possible long-term effects of bereavement – the effect of grief could manifest itself both physically and mentally, resulting in a long-term condition or illness. You should be mindful of this should there be a change in performance, behaviour or absence. Requests for time off or increased sickness leave should therefore be treated carefully, in the knowledge that a long-term condition could give rise to the risk of a disability discrimination claim.
    • Be aware of bereaved mothers’ maternity leave rights – employers should remember that mothers who lose a child after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or during maternity leave, will not lose their entitlement to maternity leave and pay. Rights to paternity leave and shared parental leave (where notice of leave has been given) will generally also be maintained in these circumstances.

    Holiday pay calculations – Workers with irregular hours

    From 6 April 2020, the reference period for calculation holiday pay for workers will increase from 12 to 52 weeks. Therefore, you will be required to pay workers their average weekly pay, calculated over the previous year, rather than the previous 12 weeks.

    What can you do?

    Consider what workers this new reference period may affect and how you will go about implementing the new reference period. This change will not directly impact when a reference period is appropriate to use and for which workers.

    If you require any assistance with reviewing policies and procedures or further advice on the above, or more general HR or employment issues, then please get in touch.

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