There are a number of changes in the world of HR and Employment Law that come into effect from April 2020. Please make sure your company Contracts of Employment / Statements of Employment Particulars, Employee Handbooks and other procedures are updated where required.
This newsletter covers:
- National Minimum Wage increases
- Reference period for holiday pay calculations for workers with irregular hours
- Written statement of employment particulars to be provided from day 1
- Parental bereavement leave rights
- Increased rights for Agency workers
- IR35: Employer’s responsibility for checking a contractors’ employment status
- Brexit: The transition period and preparing for new rules from 1st January 2021
- Brexit: EU nationals wishing to stay in the UK after Brexit
1. National Minimum Wage rates are increasing from 1st April 2020
The National Living Wage (for over 25 year olds) will increase by 6.2% from £8.21 to £8.72.
The National Minimum Wage will rise across all age groups, including:
- A 6.5% increase from £7.70 to £8.20 for 21-24 year olds
- A 4.9% increase from £6.15 to £6.45 for 18-20 year olds
- A 4.6% increase from £4.35 to £4.55 for Under 18s
- A 6.4% increase from £3.90 to £4.15 for Apprentice
The latest rates being applied can be checked on the Government’s website:
2. Reference period for holiday pay calculations for workers with irregular hours
The reference period used to calculate a week’s average pay for holiday pay purposes is currently 12 weeks. With effect from 6th April 2020 this will increase to 52 weeks.
3. Written statement of employment particulars to be provided on day 1
Anyone employed on or after 6th April 2020 will be entitled to a written statement of employment particulars. Employees and workers must be provided with their written statement on or before their first day of employment.
In addition to the current requirements*, going forward, statements of employment particulars will need to include:
- the hours and days of the week the worker /employee is required to work, whether they may be varied and how
- entitlements to any paid leave eg maternity leave
- any other benefits not covered elsewhere in the written statement
- details of any probationary period
- details of training provided by the employer.
*Current requirements for statements of employment particulars can be found at:
4. Parental bereavement leave rights for employees
The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 has now been passed by Royal Assent and is expected to come into force in April.
Parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child will have the statutory right to a minimum of 2 weeks’ bereavement leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.
Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of 2 weeks, or as 2 separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This means that they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or over the first anniversary.
Parents employed in a job for 6 months or more will also be able to claim statutory pay for this period, in line with the approach for other parental entitlements, such as paternity leave and pay.
For the latest new on this, please visit:
5. Increased rights for Agency workers from 6th April 2020
There are three important changes to agency workers’ rights which will apply from April 6th 2020:
- Agency workers, after 12 weeks, will be entitled to the same rate of pay as their permanent counterparts. Previously agency workers could agree a contract which would remove their right to equal pay with permanent counterparts after 12 weeks working at the same assignment. From 6th April 2020, these contracts will no longer be permissible.
- All agency workers will be entitled to a key information document that more clearly sets out their employment relationships and terms and conditions with their agency.
- Agency workers who are considered to be employees* will be protected from unfair dismissal or suffering a detriment if the reasons are related to asserting rights associated with The Agency Worker Regulations.
Many agency workers are classified as workers. Workers have some employment rights such as paid holiday and the National Minimum Wage. They will usually have few obligations, and may usually decline work offered to them.
Some agency workers are classed as employees. Employees are employed under a contract of service (or contract of employment). They have all the rights workers have plus others, such as being paid if work isn’t available. However employees also have more obligations to the agency than workers. For example, employees may have to accept work offered to them and be available to work a minimum amount of hours each week.
6. IR35: Employer’s responsibility for checking contractors’ employment status
Off-payroll working rules change on 6 April 2020. From this date, all public authorities and medium and large sized businesses will be responsible for deciding the employment status of workers for tax purposes and also for accounting to HMRC and deducting tax and NICs. (This is already the case for public sector employers.) This applies to contractors operating through personal service companies.
The rules apply to all public and private sector companies that meet 2 or more of the following conditions:
- you have an annual turnover of more than £10.2 million
- you have a balance sheet total of more than £5.1 million
- you have more than 50 employees
Further details, including what businesses need to do, can be found at:
7. Brexit: The transition period and preparing for new rules from 1st January 2021
The current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the Brexit transition period, however, new rules will take effect on 1 January 2021.
Businesses should start preparing for the changes now. Further details along with a link to subscribe to email updates can be found at:
8. EU nationals wishing to stay in the UK after Brexit
EU, EEA* and Swiss citizens, can now apply free of charge to the EU Settlement Scheme for themselves and their families to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. If their application is successful, they will get either “Settled” or “Pre-settled” Status, enabling them to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021.
*The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
The deadline for applying is 30th June 2021.
Settled status will usually be granted if someone:
- started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal)
- lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’)
Five years’ continuous residence means that for 5 years in a row, the individual has been in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 6 months in any 12 month period.
Those who are granted settled status will be able to stay in the UK as long as they like and if eligible, will also be able to apply for British Citizenship.
If an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen does not have 5 years’ continuous residence when they apply, they will usually be given pre-settled status. In order to qualify for this, an individual must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
Those with pre-settled status can then apply to change this to settled status once they have 5 years’ continuous residence. Applications must be submitted before pre-settled status expires.
If an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen reaches 5 years’ continuous residence at some point by 31 December 2020, they can choose to wait to apply until they have reached 5 years’ continuous residence. This means that if their application is successful, they will get settled status without having to apply for pre-settled status first.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizen can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date they get pre-settled status.
Further information and the application process can be found at: