What’s on the horizon for 2020? If you own or run a business, there are a few employment law changes you will need to be aware of coming into force from April 2020.

 Changes to agency workers rights

Currently, The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 (the “AWR”) states that temporary agency workers employed for more than 12 weeks in the same role with an employer must receive the same basic pay and employment conditions as permanent staff.

However, in the context of the supply of temporary workers from an agency to a client, there was a way around this known as the “Swedish-derogation.” Essentially, when an agency employed temporary staff directly and they were not directly employed by the end-user (the agency’s client), the AWR did not apply and they didn’t have to replicate the terms of permanent employment at the client’s business.

From 6th April, Swedish derogation is being abolished and therefore all agency workers will now be entitled to the same rate of pay as their permanent counterparts after a 12-week qualifying period. They will also be entitled to receive a ‘key information’ document which defines their employment status with their agency and sets out the terms of their work. This is designed to protect agency workers, defining them as employees, against unfair dismissal.

What you need to do: the employment agency must provide a written notification to any workers whose existing contract contain a Swedish derogation provision that it will no longer take effect. If you employ agency workers, it’s worth checking that your agency has completed this and is aware of the change – although it’s not directly your responsibility as the business owner.

Changes to written statement of terms

At present, staff employed continuously for more than one month must be given with a written statement of particulars within two months of starting work.

From 6th April 2020 all new workers and employees have the right to receive a statement of written particulars (in a single document) on or before the first day of their employment.  This means that the written particulars should be drawn up during the recruitment stage.

In addition, written statements are also required to include:

  • Hours and days the employee or worker will work.
  • Any entitlements to paid leave.
  • Benefits not covered anywhere else in the written statement.
  • Probationary period details.
  • Training provided by the employer.

What you need to do: assess who needs a written statement and where this should be saved (which can be easily accessed). It’s only employees or workers starting from the 6th April 2020 onwards (and not current employees).  Remember that agency workers would receive this via an agency, and not from the employer, so this rule only applies to employees and workers. Plan accordingly so that this document is ready before or on the day the employment commences.

IR35 for the private sector (medium to large businesses)

Currently IR35 applies to workers personally providing a service to a client through a third party (usually a personal service company under a contract).  From April new changes come into force for medium and large businesses in the private sector (changes in public sector took place in 2017) designed to undercover ‘disguised employment’ or contractors who are actually employees but benefiting from lower tax and NI deductions. The changes will shift the responsibility from the provider to the employer to determine their status (covering tax and NI). This is to determine whether the provider is indeed a service provider or an employee.

Small businesses are exempt from these rules, and small businesses are categorised by having two or more of the following:

  • Annual turnover is not more than £10.2 million.
  • Balance sheet total is not more than £5.1 million.
  • Total number of employees is not more than 50.

What you need to do: check which bracket your business falls under. If you’re in the small business category then you will not need to do anything. However, if your business is classed as medium to large you will need to audit whether the rules apply to your contractors. You can find out more via the Gov website.

Parental bereavement leave and pay

All employed parents will be entitled to two week’s leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer stillbirth from 24th week of pregnancy. They will also be able to claim for this period (having met the eligibility criteria).

What you need to do: add this into your policies and procedures and be aware of the law if the worst should happen to an employee.

Holiday pay reference period

Changes are being made to the reference period used to calculate a week’s pay for holiday purposes. It will be extended from the previous 12 weeks of work to the previous 52 weeks.

What you need to do: use this calculation from 6th April when working out holiday pay.

We can offer advice on any of the above areas, get in touch for a chat if you are concerned about your HR.