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News

7 Key Employment Law Changes not to be overlooked in the wake of COVID-19

7th July 2020

 

 

The nation’s focus since March 2020 has been around the Coronavirus, the interaction between the furlough and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, holiday and redundancies.

However, that does not mean that there have been no changes outside of those issues, and if you blinked you may have missed them. On that basis, as the country tries to return to normal, here are a few things that have changed and which you may not be aware of:

  1. National Minimum Wage

The following rises all came into force and the following now apply:

 

Apprentice

(first year or under 19)

Under 18 18-20 21-24

25+

£4.15 £4.55 £6.45 £8.20

£8.72

You should therefore review the rates of pay for employees and to ensure that you remain compliant.

  1. Contracts of Employment

These now need to:

a. be in place by day 1 of employment and not within 8 weeks of the employment starting;

b. be in place for all workers and employees. This is an extension from just employees; and

c. detail any training entitlement provided by the employer and any training which is required, which the employer will not fund.

You may wish to consider your induction processes to ensure that you have a signed contract when an employee begins.

  1. Parental Bereavement Leave

This came in to force; any person losing a child (from 24 Weeks pregnancy but under 18 years old) may now take within 12 months of the death 2 weeks leave. It will be paid at the rate prescribed by the Government, unless you agree something higher.

You may therefore want to review your absence policies in light of this change.

  1. Holiday

a. Holiday pay will from 1 April be contracted by reference to a 52 week period, and not the 12 week period previously in place.

b. In light of the Coronavirus, any holiday which cannot be used in this holiday year may be carried over into the next 2 years, and will not automatically be lost if unused. This may give you greater flexibility in managing holiday in 2020. However, some consideration should be given to ensuring that you manage holiday availability and do not effectively store up a problem for 2 years down the line.

  1. Termination Payments

From 6 April 2020, termination payments now see any sums over £30,000 subject to Employer National Insurance Contributions.

You will therefore need to bear this in mind if considering the termination of employment for senior employees.

  1. Agency workers

The following has changed:

a. the “Swedish Derogation” loophole has been closed. This means that any agency worker engaged for over 12 weeks is entitled to the same pay and conditions as your employees. This loophole used to allow different rates where they were paid by their agency in between assignments.

b. Agency Workers will be entitled to a key worker document setting out what rights they have.

c. Agency Workers will have access to unfair dismissal claims where they are dismissed in response to them seeking to enforce their rights under the Agency Workers Regulations.

  1. Statutory Payments

The rates of pay have all increased slightly for:

  • Statutory Sick Pay;
  • Statutory Maternity Pay;
  • Statutory Paternity Pay; and
  • Daily Guarantee Pay.

If you wish to discuss any of the above, considerations in respect of restructuring, or any other employment law issues, please contact Jason Alcock, Ansons’ Employment Law specialist on 01543 267196 or by email at jalcock@ansonssolicitors.com

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