Employment Law 2020: What to Expect

Howes Percival LLP

2nd January 2020

2019 was a busy year for new employment legislation with minimum wage increases, more details in payslips, and increased penalties for “aggravated” breaches of employment law to £20,000. The #MeToo campaign also led to non-disclosure clauses / agreements being argued as unenforceable with professional bodies issuing strong cautions against their use. 2020 was scheduled to have further developments following the Good Work Plan, but with the General Election many of the proposed changes have fallen as they had not completed the legislative process in time. Brexit legislation has been stop / start and the final plans in relation to the right to work remain outstanding. 

The 6 April 2020 is a busy day in the employment calendar and sees a number of changes coming into force including the following:

CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT

As of 6 April 2020 all employees and workers will have a day one right to a written statement of terms. This s.1 statement has also been expanded and contains additional details previously available to the employee in a separate document.

AGENCY WORKERS

Temporary work agencies must, as from 6 April 2020, provide agency work-seekers with a Key Information document, including information on the type of contract, the minimum expected rate of pay, how they will be paid and by whom. In addition to this, with effect from 30 April 2020, the Swedish derogation provision will no longer apply.

AVERAGE HOLIDAY PAY

Again with effect from 6 April 2020, the reference period to be used to calculate average weekly pay for holiday pay will be increased from 12-weeks to 52-weeks.

TAX CHANGES

The off-payroll working rules (IR35) are scheduled to be extended to large and medium-sized companies in the private sector with effect from 6 April 2020. Companies that do not fall within the small exemption will be required to carry out their own determination as to the employment status of individuals engaged through personal service companies/intermediaries, will need to provide that determination to fee payers and workers and adopt a resolution process in the event of disagreement. They will also be responsible for the payment of tax and NIC’s where there is deemed employment. HMRC have developed, and updated, an online checking tool (Check Employment Status Tool), CEST, which, if completed correctly, HMRC have stated that they will accept the determination as given by this check. Whilst the rules are scheduled to apply from 6 April 2020, the final legislation to introduce these changes remains incomplete and is on hold as a consequence of the General Election. Additionally, the rules, and further reform to them, have become a point of debate by the Parties in their election campaigns and there have been growing calls from businesses and professional organisations to postpone their implementation. However, at this time, the information available indicates that it is likely that the new rules will be implemented as expected on 6 April 2020 but we will issue a newsflash as soon as any further information becomes available to us.

As a result of the tax changes and the changes to the Swedish Derogation model, many clients are looking at their resource models going forward.

Again, from 6 April 2020, all termination payments above the £30,000 threshold will be subject to class 1A NICs

INFORMATION AND CONSULTATION

The threshold to request an information and consultation agreement will be lowered with effect from 6 April 2020 from 10% to 2% of the total number of employees employed by the employer.

PARENTAL BEREAVEMENT LEAVE AND PAY

This Act provides for parents to be entitled to 2-weeks leave and statutory bereavement pay if they lose a child under the age of 18, which includes where a child is still-born after 24-weeks of pregnancy. However, the regulations to set out and implement this Act, i.e. when it can be taken and safeguards against detriment (redundancy / dismissal) have not yet been published. The rights are expected to come into force in April 2020.

GOOD WORK PLAN

A number of bills have fallen to the wayside as a consequence of the forthcoming General Election. This includes Bills regarding additional rights in relation to extending parental leave to self-employed partners, an extension to the protection for pregnant employees and those on adoption leave facing potential redundancy and the requirement for employers to offer and advertise flexible working.

We also continue into 2020 without a clear definition of worker for the purposes of holiday pay, national minimum wage and other legislation. Additionally, the right for workers to seek payment directly from a client, should a contractor fail to pay its workers, and the right for transparency and fairness in the payment of tips are not coming into force as these Bills have also fallen.

BREXIT

And finally, Brexit: At this time the EU Settlement Scheme has been implemented. This allows EU nationals who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU if there is no-deal) to apply for ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status. Settled status allows the worker to stay in the UK indefinitely and will usually be granted if they have lived in the UK continuously for 5-years. If the worker has lived in the UK for less than 5-years, they can apply for pre-settled status which can become settled status at the 5-year point.

If you have any questions regarding the above changes or would like the team to review your contracts of employment in light of the 2020 requirements, please contact information@howespercival.com.

Join the cluster today!

Enjoy all the benefits being a member brings and register your interest here.

Register
Contact us

To find out more01327 856108

Send us a message
Founding Members: