With all the focus on the Coronavirus pandemic and the impact on businesses, it’s easy to forget about the day to day running of a business. However, employment law has to be adhered to even in these challenging times. Here’s an outline of those changes.
Written Statement of Particulars of Employment
Currently, all employees who work for more than one month are entitled to a Written Statement of Particulars of Employment. This document must be issued within 2 months of the employee starting work even if they leave before then. The information that must be contained within a written statement of particulars of employment is prescribed in law and is divided into two parts, the first being the ‘principle document’ The absence of this document can give way to a claim from an employee and if successful they could be awarded two weeks’ pay or if it is just and equitable in the circumstances, a higher amount of four weeks’ pay.
With effect from 6th April 2020, all employees and workers will have the right to receive this on day one of their employment. Currently, some of the information can be provided in instalments, this will change, and most information will have to be provided in a single document. The statement must include a reference to:
• 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.
• other types of paid leave such as maternity/paternity leave (i.e not limited to sick leave or holidays);
• probationary period, including any conditions and its duration.
• any training entitlement that the employer will provide which the worker is required to complete and any other training which the employer requires the worker to complete to which the employer will not bear the cost; and
• any other benefits provided by the employer.
With workers being entitled to a written statement of particulars of employment from day one, employers will need to amend the reference in their documents from employee to worker. There is significant case law in respect of employment status and as such employers must be careful that they issue the correct document for the purpose of the work being carried out.
Due the impact the Coronavirus has had on businesses, a new rule has been introduced that allows employees to carry unused holidays to be carried over into the next 2 years annual leave. Full details can be found here
Holiday Reference Period
Where workers do not have a set pattern of work an employer is required to calculate the previous average 12 weeks hours and pay to determine what is a ‘weeks’ pay for the purpose of holiday payment. This 12-week reference period must exclude all weeks where there is no payment, holiday or sickness. A worker should not be financially worse off for taking a holiday.
From 6 April 2020, the reference period used for determining a week’s pay when calculating holiday pay for workers with irregular hours increases from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
Employers will be required to keep records going back 104 weeks to compensate for weeks with non-qualifying payments.
Where there are less than 52 weeks, all relevant weeks must be taken into account.
Termination Payments over £30,000
Currently, any termination payment over £30,000 is subject to income tax but not national insurance. With effect from 6th April 2020 this will change, and employers will be additionally liable for Class 1A national insurance contributions. The employee is not affected by this change.
Parental Bereavement Leave
Under the introduction of Jack’s Law, paid bereavement leave will become law for primary carers and parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy and have 26 weeks’ continuous service. The paid entitlement will be a minimum of two weeks’ pay at the statutory rate. The leave must be taken before the end of a period of at least 56 days beginning with the date of the child’s death. Parental bereavement leave can be taken in one block of two weeks or two separate blocks of a one-week period.
Employees without the qualifying length of service will still be entitled take the time off as unpaid parental bereavement leave.
A primary carer includes close relatives or family friends that have taken responsibility for the child’s care, foster parents, guardians and adopters.
National minimum wage, statutory sick pay, statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and statutory shared parental pay all increase during the start of April 2020. The full details of the new rates can be found on the direct gov website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rates-and-thresholds-for-employers-2020-to-2021
Coronavirus Support Updates can be found here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus