5 key employment law changes for 2020

This year brings some important changes to employment law. Simon Thomas, a partner at Hutchinson Thomas, gives an overview.

If you’re an employer, you need to be aware of certain key changes coming into effect on April 6 2020. They are wide reaching and will affect everything from bereavement leave to agency workers’ rights. Here are the five key changes you need to be aware of as an employer.

  1. Agency workers’ rights

From April 6:

  • The Swedish Derogation will be abolished. This special type of employment contract gives temp agency staff a guaranteed amount of pay when they are in between contracts – but in return, they give up their right to be paid the same amount as employees on permanent contracts. From April 6 this type of agreement will no longer be allowed and agency workers who have been in their employment for 12 weeks will be entitled to the same pay as workers on permanent contracts.
  1. Holiday pay calculations

From April 6, the way a ‘week’s pay’ is calculated for holiday pay purposes will change. Currently it is based on the previous 12 weeks of work. From April 6, this will be extended to the previous 52 weeks.

  1. Parental bereavement leave

From April 6, the government will introduce a law entitling all working parents to two weeks’ bereavement leave if they lose a child aged under 18. Eligible employees include people who have suffered a stillbirth after 24 weeks; natural parents; intended parents (parents using a surrogate); parents ‘in fact’ (who have lived with the child in their own home for at least four weeks prior to the child’s death and been responsible for the child’s care); a person who is the child’s ‘natural parent’ named under the Adoption and Children Act 2002; adoptive parents; and the partner of the child’s parent.

  1. New right to a written statements of terms

At present, every employee who has been with an employer for more than a month should be given a written statement of terms – and the employer has two months from the employee’s start date to provide this. From April 6, employers will have to provide all new employees with a written statement of terms on their first day of employment. Additional information will also need to be included.

  1. Changes to IR35 rules for the private sector

The IR35 rules enable HMRC to collect additional payment when a contractor is an employee in all but name. Currently, it is the responsibility of the intermediary – usually a public services company – to determine whether IR35 applies and to ensure the correct tax treatment is applied, but from April 6, the responsibility will shift from the intermediary to the end user client to make a status determination. The ‘fee payer’ – the organisation paying the intermediary for the contractor’s services – will be responsible for accounting for tax and national insurance liabilities relating to this work.

If you need advice and guidance relating to any of these changes, please contact our employment law team and we will be happy to help.

For more information on employment law matters, contact Simon Thomas on 01639 640164 or email simon.thomas@hutchinsonthomas.com