Government to Overhaul Employment Law: Here’s What It Means for You

Nicola Mullineux

Nicola Mullineux

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21 Dec 2018

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The UK Government has announced the “largest upgrade in a generation to workplace rights.

It’s new ‘Good Work Plan’ will bring big changes to employment law, and it will affect all UK employers. Here’s what the new rules mean for you...

You must give a written statement to all new staff, immediately

As of the 6th April 2020, you’ll need to give a written statement to all employees from day one of employment. Staff classed as ‘workers’ will also have the right to a written statement.

You’ll need to provide more information in this statement than you do now. For example, you must give details of the types of paid leave you offer staff, such as maternity or paternity leave. You’ll also need to give details of your employees’ eligibility for sick leave.

Everyone can request stable hours

All your employees and workers will have the right to ask for stable hours after 26 weeks of service. Your staff on zero-hour contracts, for example, could ask for minimum weekly hours or for set days that they prefer to work. You’ll have to consider this request, but you may be able to refuse it.

No date has been set for when this law will come into force.

Loophole on agency worker pay will close

Agencies that hire out temporary workers to businesses can currently pay these workers less than comparable employees who do the same job. It's known as the ‘Swedish Derogation Model’, and it will be illegal from the 6th April 2020.

Agencies that use the Swedish Derogation Model will need to change their staff contracts. If your business relies on agencies for workers, you may see staff wages increase.     

How you calculate holiday pay will change

From the 6th April 2020, the reference period used to calculate holiday pay for staff whose hours vary will increase from 12 to 52 weeks. Increasing the reference period will stop employees from getting paid less if they take their holiday in quieter periods.

That means the holiday pay for your staff may sometimes be higher. This is because the reference period will take into account peaks and troughs in working hours throughout the year. The government, rather than employment tribunals, will handle any disputes over holiday pay.

Other changes you need to know about

  • Workers will get to keep their tips. It’ll be illegal for employers to take money from tips that customers leave for staff.
  • Maximum employment tribunal fines for employers who show malice, spite or gross oversight will quadruple to £20,000.
  • The period of time that counts as a break in continuous employment will increase from one to four weeks. This will make it harder for employers who want to quickly re-hire the same person after that person’s previous role has come to an end.
  • Businesses with 50 or more employees will have to set up information and consultation arrangements with staff if 2% of their workforce asks for it, subject to a minimum of 15 employees. Currently, businesses must do this if they get requests from 10% of staff or 15 employees (whichever number is greater). The change in regulation will make it easier for employees to force their employer to inform and consult with staff on issues involving their business.
  • A ‘naming and shaming’ scheme for businesses who fail to pay employment tribunal awards is now live. Claimants can report employers who don’t pay after 42 days of a tribunal judgement. The Government will give employers 28 days to make the payment. If the employer still doesn’t pay, they will face a penalty fine and a public ‘naming and shaming’. This scheme applies to any tribunal award given on or after the 18 December 2018.

Employment law isn’t easy…

Big legal changes put extra burden on employers. Our advice? Make sure you’re prepared well in advance to prevent disruption and protect your business from falling foul of the law.

Contact Croner today for free advice on what the ‘Good Work Plan’ will mean for you. Call 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Nicola Mullineux

Nicola Mullineux, as Group Content Manager, leads a team of employment law content writers who produce guidance and commentary on employment law, case law and key HR developments. She has written articles for national publications for over 10 years and regularly helps to shape employment of the future by taking part in Government consultations on employment law change.

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Nicola Mullineux

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