Autumn Budget & Spring StatementSmall to Medium Businesses

Good Work Plan – Employment Law Changes Your Small Business Needs To Know

By February 27, 2020February 16th, 2021No Comments

The Good Work Plan comes into effect in April 2020, and if you have casual workers or zero hour contract workers you need to be aware of the changes and make sure you’re following the new legislation.

Employee working in a cafe

The Good Work Plan has come about due to an increase in the number of casual workers across the UK in recent years. Many felt companies were taking advantage of these workers, essentially being in full time employment without any of the usual benefits. This update has been led by the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, published in 2017, with most of its recommendations being funnelled into the Good Work Plan.

You can read the Good Work Plan here and the Taylor Review here.

The changes will mostly affect any businesses who currently have staff on ‘casual’ or ‘zero hours’ contracts, but there are a few legislation changes that will apply to all employers.

 

Contracts & Written Statements for Employees

Currently, whilst most employers choose to have their newly hired employee sign a contract soon after they begin work, as of 6th April this will be a day-one requirement, even if the worker is to be hired for a less than a month. The written statement detailing the working relationship, employment and associated enforcement provisions should contain the usual terms of employment:

  • How long the job will last
  • Regular working days, hours, place of work including any variations such as ‘work from home one day per week’
  • Training and whether this will be covered by the employer
  • Notice periods
  • Sick leave, pay and maternity/paternity entitlements
  • Duration and conditions of probationary periods
  • Remuneration and any other benefits

If any of these are missing from your current written statements / contracts with employees please consult your legal team for an updated template to ensure you’re up to date for April 2020.

In addition to offering regular employees this contract / written statement, causal or zero hours workers will soon also be entitled to request a written contract with guaranteed minimum hours of work and advanced notice of working days/hours. This entitlement can be requested after 26 weeks of employment, and the employer will have three months to comply. The exact details on this are expected to be released soon, maybe even as soon as the Spring Budget this March.

 

Holiday Pay

Currently some employers will work out an individual’s holiday pay entitlement based on the previous 12 weeks of employment. This is to be changed to be based on the previous 52 weeks employment, which will better serve casual or seasonal employees who may have more shifts at certain times. This will ensure that workers with varied hours are entitled to appropriate levels of holiday pay when they choose to take their holiday. 

A new holiday entitlement calculator is expected to be launched to help employers and workers better understand this new entitlement.

Another change to holiday pay is that if it is not correctly paid there will be a state-led enforcement available to assist vulnerable workers. Currently if holiday pay is applied inaccurately the worker has to begin the employment tribunal proceedings. 

 

Definition of Continuous Service

Some employment benefits are only available to employers who can demonstrate continuous service. Currently a one week break in work can re-start a workers continuous service, this is to be changed to a four week break. This change will assist casual workers who for all intents and purposes are continually employed but may not have a shift in 7+ days due to factors out of their control. 

 

Agency Workers

All agency workers will be entitled to a ‘key facts page’ – you can think of the key facts page as a mini contract/statement which details the type of employment contract, the minimum rate of pay and any fees which may be deducted. This will help agency workers to better understand the terms of their working situation.

‘The Swedish Derogation’ opt-out which currently allows an agency worker to waive their right to equal pay, when compared with an employee, after 12 weeks of service will be scrapped as it leaves agency workers worse off financially.

Also The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, which enforces agency workers’ rights, will be extended to those working under umbrella companies.

 

Parental Rights

We’re still awaiting confirmation of the official changes to protection of pregnant women and new parents and when these will come into force, but we understand that the Government plans to make some changes here, including:

  • Redundancy protection from the time an employee informs the employer of a pregnancy verbally or in writing
  • An extended redundancy protection period of six months after the new mother has returned to work
  • The above rights to be extended to new adoptive parents
  • Extended redundancy protection for anyone taking shared parental leave

There are several other proposals for families in consultation including those to better consider balancing gender divisions in parental leave, neonatal leave and pay, and improved transparency on flexible family working practices such as working remotely or varied hours.

Another parental act expected to come into effect in April 2020 is the Parental Bereavement Act, which entitles all parents to two weeks of leave and statutory pay following the loss of a child or a stillbirth 24 weeks+.

 

Minimum Wage

The annual minimum and statutory wage increases are still expected to be announced in the Budget in April (since the Autumn Budget was cancelled), so keep an eye out for our Spring Budget 2020 blog for more information.

 

EU Workers

We are expecting some changes to working rights for EU citizens, however the Government have announced that right to work checks for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will not change until at least 1st Jan 2021.

 

If you have any concerns about how new workers rights will affect your business financially contact your accountant at Warr & Co to discuss further. If you’re not yet a client but would be interested in our services, then contact us for a free no-obligation consultation.

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