April 2019 legal update: upcoming Employment Law changes for 2020 and beyond

With April fast approaching, there’s a number of legislation changes you should be aware of designed to give greater protection to those working under more flexible work arrangements.  From increased protection of agency workers to changes in the calculation of holiday pay, we’ve summarised the areas you need to know to stay on the right side of the law.

However, please note that the majority of the changes in relation to the Good Work Place discussed in this article come into effect in 2020, or have no implementation date; this update aims to proactively prepare you for these changes and help you better understand both what you need to immediate action, as well as what’s coming your way in the future.

The Good Work Plan

The traditional view of employment relationships in the UK has struggled to accommodate the gradual evolution of new working models, which has been accelerated by the rise of digital platforms.

The need for change was highlighted by the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices in July 2017.

In this report, Matthew Taylor put forward 53 recommendations, most of which were accepted in principle by the government, which then launched four major consultations on how these proposals could be implemented. This culminated at the end of last year with the publication of the government’s Good Work Plan, which they described as their “vision for the future of the UK labour market”.

So what does it mean for you and your business?

Apart from the extension of the right to a payslip to cover all workers which comes into force on 6 April 2019, the government has promised to bring in a range of measures to implement the report’s recommendations, including:

Extension of the right to a written statement of particulars of employment

At present, employers have to provide a written statement setting out the basic terms of employment to all employees whose employment lasts for one month or more, and this must be provided within two months of the start of their employment.

Under new legislation which comes into force on 6 April 2020, this right will apply from day one to all employees and workers.

Increase in the period over which holiday pay is calculated

Currently, the holiday entitlement of a worker who has irregular working hours is calculated by averaging the number of hours worked over the previous 12 weeks (known as ‘the pay reference period’).

Under the new regulations, from 6 April 2020, the pay reference period will be 52 weeks or, for those workers who have been working for less than 52 weeks, the total number of weeks they have worked. This change is designed to avoid workers losing out where their working hours are subject to fluctuations such as seasonal variations.

Increase in the ‘break of service’ period

At the moment, a gap of one week or more is sufficient to break the continuity of service (except for various situations where legislation dictates that continuity is preserved for a longer period such as redundancy and incapacity dismissals).

From 6 April 2020, the gap required to break the continuity of service will increase to four weeks, making it easier for employees with irregular working patterns to accumulate continuity of service.

Increased protection for agency workers

Currently, agency workers are entitled to be paid the same rates as permanent employees after 12 weeks, unless they are working under specific contractual arrangements under which they receive a minimum level of pay when they are between assignments (this is known as the ‘Swedish derogation’ model).

From April 2020, this distinction will be abolished and the right to comparable pay will apply to all agency workers after 12 weeks.

Right to request a ‘stable’ contract

The government have committed to introducing a right for all employees and workers to request a more stable working pattern (subject to having acquired at least 26 weeks’ service).

Employment status

The government acknowledges that the question of employment status is a thorny one for business, particularly given that the employment law definitions of employee, worker and self-employed, are not aligned with the approach HMRC takes when determining employee status.

They have indicated that they will introduce a new test to identify employment status, supported by online tools to help employers correctly define their working relationships. Businesses will welcome such clarity, as the uncertainty has resulted in a stream of cases such as Uber, Deliveroo and Pimlico Plumbers.

Got a question?

If you’re a Citation client and have questions about the changes outlined above, remember our experts are available to you 24/7 through the advice line.

If you’re not yet a citation client, get in touch with the team on 0345 844 1111 or using the form on this page.

 

 

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