• 6 April 2020 Changes to Terms and Conditions of Employment

    Published: September 9 2019

    In July 2017, Matthew Taylor published his Good Work report into the implications of new forms of work on worker rights and responsibilities and employer freedoms and obligations. This was commissioned by the [then] UK prime minister. Following this the Good Work Plan was published in December 2018 and a variety of employment legislation changes identified. We have set out below the changes to employment law which are coming into force in April 2020.

    When was the last time you reviewed your Ts & Cs for staff?

    When was the last time you reviewed your HR policies?

    Are you ready for these changes?

    What are the changes and what do you need to do?

    Change in Statement of terms

    A written statement of terms will have to be given on or before the first day of employment. Currently employers have up to two months to issue the statement to any employee working for them for more than a month but from April 2020 the right to a statement of written particulars will become a day one right.

    Have you got processes in place to ensure this happens?​

    The government will be extending the entitlement to a statement of ‘written particulars’ to include workers as well as employees. This will apply for all new joiners on or after 6 April 2020.​

    Do you have contract workers that support your business?

    The information to be included in the written statement from day one is also being expanded. In addition to the current information that must be provided, from April 2020 the statement should also include:

    • how long a job is expected to last, or the end date of a fixed-term contract
    • how much notice the employer and worker are required to give to terminate the agreement
    • details of eligibility for sick leave and pay
    • details of other types of paid leave e.g. maternity leave and paternity leave
    • the duration and conditions of any probationary period
    • all remuneration (not just pay) e.g. vouchers, lunch, health insurance
    • the normal working hours, the days of the week the worker is required to work, and whether or not such hours or days may be variable, and if they may be how they vary or how that variation is to be determined
    • any training entitlement provided by the employer, any part of that training entitlement which the employer requires the worker to complete, and any other training which the employer requires the worker to complete and which the employer will not bear the cost.

    What do you need to do to get prepared?

    Start to 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.

    Change in Holiday pay calculations

    In the Good Work Plan the government made a commitment to improving the holiday pay arrangements for seasonal workers and to do this is lengthening the reference period for determining an average week’s pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.

    This should be a change welcomed by employers as holiday pay calculations will be less exposed to short term variations in pay.

    What do you need to do to get prepared?

    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 on the question of when a reference period is appropriate to use and for which workers.

    Break in Continuity of Employment

    The break between periods of employment which breaks continuity will be increased from one week currently to four weeks.

    This is likely to have the biggest impact on temporary workers as it will easier for them to accrue the two-year qualifying service to engage unfair dismissal rights.

    What do you need to do to get prepared?

    Employers will need to track temporary employees more closely and take far more care in ending temporary assignments when an individual has qualifying service.

    Extension of IR35 to private sector

    Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Budget on 29 October 2018 that the IR35 tax rules would be extended to the private sector in April 2020.

    The rules are aimed at reducing tax avoidance for off-payroll contractors working through personal service companies (PSC).

    From 6 April 2020, medium and large sized private sector businesses will become responsible for assessing the employment status of the off-payroll workers they engage.

    As the government reports that the cost, in terms of lost tax revenue, of non-compliance with the off-payroll working rules in the private sector is growing and will reach £1.3 billion a year by 2023/24, it is clear that change is coming, and businesses need to act now.

    What do you need to do to get prepared?

    • look at 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 about whether the off-payroll rules will apply to them; and
    • put processes in place to determine if the off-payroll rules apply to future engagements.

    Parental bereavement leave

    The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act was launched on 13 September 2018. This will entitle employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy, to two weeks’ unpaid leave, as a right from day one of their employment. The act is expected to come into force for employment law in 2020.

    What do you need to do to get prepared?

    • Consider a written policy – Employers should consider having a written bereavement leave policy in place, as this can provide certainty and security at a difficult time.
    • Be aware of religious and cultural requirements around bereavement – Employers should be aware of the risk of racial or religious discrimination claims that may arise from refused requests for time off for religious observances on death. Certain religions require a set time for mourning.
    • 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. Employers 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.

    Agency Workers

    The Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2018 will abolish the exemption which excludes agency workers from the right to equal pay with comparable direct employees if they have an employment contract with their agency which guarantees pay between assignments (commonly known as the Swedish Derogation)

    What do you need to do to get prepared?

    If you do not have agency workers, then there are no action points to take forward. If you do have agency workers, you should review the information you are providing agency workers with to ensure it will meet with the new employment law requirements.

    Information and Consultation Thresholds

    To encourage engagement in the workplace, the percentage required for a valid employee request for an information and consultation agreement governing how their employer will consult about economic and employment-related matters will be lowered from 15% to 2% of the workforce.

    What do you need to do to get prepared?

    You should be aware of these thresholds if you receive a request to set up information and consultation arrangements.

    Medium and large sized private sector businesses will become responsible for assessing the employment status of certain off-payroll workers they engage (this is already the case in the public sector). This will consequently mean that they will be accountable to HMRC for a wrong assessment.

    How can we at Kent HR help?

    If you would like further information, advice or assistance on preparing for changes to employment law due in 2020, then please contact us using the enquiry form below or contact a member of our team.


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