April 2020 Employment Legislation Changes - are you ready?

Every April the government updates its employment legislation, statutory rates of pay, leave entitlements . . . the list goes on. Keeping up to date with these changes is tough, especially when you already have a full workload. That's why we're here - to help make sure your policies, procedures, practices and management decisions drive the right results whilst being legally compliant.

Here are the top 5 things you need to be aware of in preparation for 6th April 2020:

1. Changes in the time-frame for issuing Employment Particulars. Previously you had 8 weeks to get a written contract of employment to your new starter. This is no longer the case. From 6th April, employees need to have a detailed set of written particulars by day one. This adds extra pressure to your hiring and on-boarding processes. They need to be efficient and slick.

2. More detailed Employment Particulars. It's not just the timing of issuing employment particulars that you need to be aware of. You also need to think about what goes into them. Over the last few years I've read lots of articles in the HR press about relaxing contracts, relying on managing through behaviours and having strong values instead. Whilst this will continue to be important to build an engaged workforce, the employment legislation due for release in April 2020 is much more prescriptive about what you need to include . . . you need to be more detailed than ever before and be specific about hours, shift patterns, days worked, benefits and the value of benefits, training provision and paid annual leave. There's a lot to think about and many companies will need help updating their existing contracts of employment for current and new employees.

3. Agency Workers Pay. Previously there has been an opt out in place that means recruitment agencies can opt out of equalising the pay levels of temporary, agency staff with the permanent workforce. With effect from 6th April 2020 this opt out will cease and this means that after 12 weeks working continuously with the same employer (albeit via an agency), an agency worker is entitled to the same level of pay as a permanent worker. It'll be interesting to see the impact this change has - I suspect it could result in temporary, agency workers having shorter stints at an increasingly diverse set of businesses rather than working with just one for a longer period of time. Do you agree?

4. Holiday Pay Reference Period. In the Good Work Plan the government made a promise to improve the holiday pay arrangements for seasonal workers.  To support this, the reference period for determining an average week’s pay will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. This means that you need to consider which workers this new reference period applies to. You should also ensure that records of pay for the 52 weeks prior to 6 April 2020 are accurate and up to date in preparation.

5. Parental Bereavement Leave. This is a new piece of legislation and supports the good practice already adopted by many employers. The new Parental Bereavement Law 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. Employees with over 26 weeks service will be entitlement to receive statutory bereavement pay. Again there's lots to think about as a result of this . . . a new policy, increased awareness of cultural and religious differences on bereavement requirements whilst also being prepared for the potential long term implications of the bereavement in terms of increased absence and knock on impacts on performance.

We're here to help. They're are a number of things you can do to ensure you're prepared and ready for these changes - reviewing your policies, practices and workforce are all good places to start. We can also help you . . . we work with businesses large and small to make sure their policies and HR practices are not only compliant but clear, easy to use and enhance managers ability to make great decisions. Our team are highly qualified and are ready to help. Why not get in touch today?

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