The Good Work Plan was deemed the ‘biggest shake ups of employment law in a generation’.
In April 2020, a significant number of new laws came into effect as part of the plan. More are expected at some point in the future. Now, one year later, let’s take a look at how the plan came to be, the changes that happened on 6 April 2020, and what employers can expect in the future.
Statement of main terms
The Good Work Plan brought significant changes to the law on statements of main terms.
Since 6 April 2020, employees have been entitled to receive the statement “not later than the beginning of their employment”. This effectively means the statement must be given before the employee starts their job.
‘Workers’, a broader category than ‘employees’, also have a legal right to receive a statement of main terms. This includes zero-hour workers, casual workers etc. However, a statement provided to workers needs to be tailored in accordance with the specific features of a worker arrangement.
The list of information that must be included in the statement has also been extended. Statements given to any employee or worker who started work on or after 6 April 2020 must include:
- The terms & conditions relating to work must cover terms relating to normal hours of work (including breaks), days of the week the worker will be required to work and whether they may vary
- Terms relating to other forms of paid leave such as family-friendly leave
- Details of other employee benefits, not just those relating to pay
- Terms relating to probationary periods including those in relation to length & conditions
- Details of training provision and requirements
Agency workers who work on an assignment for 12 weeks or more are entitled to the same treatment as permanent staff with respect of basic pay etc. Previously, those agency workers employed on contracts known as the Swedish Derogation Model (also known as ‘pay between assignments’ contracts) were excluded from the equal pay requirement.
Since 6 April 2020, the use of Swedish Derogation Model contracts was banned. This closed the equal pay loophole. It is now no longer lawful to engage an agency worker on a Swedish Derogation Model contract. Anyone employed on this type of contract on this date had to be provided with a statement by 30 April 2020 explaining the effect of the ban on their pay.
In a separate move, all agency workers must be given a key information document which explains their engagement including:
- The type of contract the worker is employed under
- The identity of the employment business
- The minimum rate of pay they can expect
- How they are to be paid and by whom
- Any deductions or fees that will be taken
- An estimate or an example of what this means for their take home pay
- Details of annual leave entitlement and pay for this leave.
The document must be no longer than two pages of A4 paper and written in clear English. It must be given to the agency worker before the terms under which they work will be agreed. This change also took effect on 6 April 2020.
Period required to break continuous service
Current law states that one week “ending with a Saturday” is required between two contracts of employment to break continuous service. This is to prevent issues such as the service accrued under the first contract being added to that served under the second. This often means that casual employees are unable to accrue the length of service required for some employment rights. Some affected rights include protection against unfair dismissal, requesting flexible working etc.
The period of time required to break service will be extended from one week to four weeks. This means that it will be easier for casual employees to add together service from one period of employment to another. This will mostly affect staff who are re-hired quickly after their last contract ended.
Identifying employment status
The Government will take measures to improve the clarity of employment status tests. These are used to determine whether someone is an employee, worker or is self-employed.
The aim is to reflect the reality of working relationships. It also prevents employers from being able to misclassify or mislead their workforce over their real status. It’s likely that more emphasis will be placed on the degree to which you control aspects of the work done. Meanwhile, less emphasis will be placed on the ability to send a substitute in their place. In addition, the Government will seek to align the employment status frameworks for the purposes of employment rights and tax.
Other upcoming changes
In addition to the three upcoming changes discussed above, the Government is also looking at making changes to:
- A zero-hour (or variable) worker’s right to switch to a more stable contract
- Offer workers protection over the tips they earn during their shift
Expert support with the Good Work Plan
The Good Work Plan has changed the way we employ people across the country. It’s also not finished yet. With further changes yet to come, you need to stay up to date and react to the latest changes in employment law.
- Business Advice
- Contracts & Documentation
- Culture & Performance
- Disciplinary & Grievances
- Dismissals & Conduct
- Employee Conduct
- Employment Law
- End of Contract
- Equality & Discrimination
- Health & Safety
- Hiring & Managing
- Leave & Absence
- Managing Health & Safety
- Occupational Health
- Pay & Benefits
- Risk & Welfare