There are several important changes to employment law that came into force on 1, 5 and 6 April 2020, including legislation on section 1 statements, holiday pay reference periods and the removal of the Swedish derogation for agency workers (to implement the Good Work Plan), increases to the National Minimum Wage, increases to tribunal awards and statutory payments and the introduction of parental bereavement leave and pay.
The Good Work Plan
Several legislative changes to implement the government's Good Work Plan came into effect on 6 April 2020. These include:
- Section 1 statements – Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 has been amended to give workers, rather than just employees, the right to a written statement of particulars and to bring a tribunal claim against their employer. Other critical changes have been made to the timing and contents of the section 1 statements. Click here for our article giving more detail on these changes.
- Holiday pay reference period. The Working Time Regulations 1998 has been amended to increase the reference period for determining an average week's pay (for the purposes of calculating holiday pay) from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, or the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been employed (if less). Click here for our article giving more detail on these changes.
- Repeal of the Swedish derogation. The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 has been amended so that all agency workers have a right to pay parity with comparable permanent staff after 12 weeks. Click here for our article giving more detail on these changes.
Increase in the National Minimum Wage
As of 1 April 2020, the National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over increased by 6.2% to £8.72 in what the government called its “biggest cash increase ever”. Click here for our article giving more detail on the new rates.
Increase in tribunal awards and statutory payments
There has been an increase in limits applying to certain awards of employment tribunals, and other amounts payable under employment legislation from 6 April 2020. Click here for our article giving more detail on these new rates.
Parental bereavement leave and pay
A new statutory right for employees to take one or two weeks off work following the death of a child under 18 or a stillbirth (parental bereavement leave) came into force on 6 April 2020. A new statutory payment, statutory parental bereavement pay, may be payable during parental bereavement leave, depending on the individual's length of service and earnings. Click here for our article giving more detail on this new right.
Termination payments: NICs changes
After a 2 year delay, the National Insurance Contributions (NICs) rules affecting termination payments changed with effect from 6 April 2020. The new rules will apply to termination payments over £30,000 that are paid to employees on or after 6 April 2020. The excess of termination payments above £30,000 (which is already subject to income tax) will be subject to employer’s NICs (as Class 1A contributions). Click here for our article giving more detail on this change.