What you need to know about UK employment law changes in April 2020

Each year there are changes to employment law in the UK. This year there are a few changes that, although they aren’t ground-breaking, do have the potential to catch you out. Employers. Beware.

Here is what you need to know about the changes from the beginning of April 2020:

1. A Statement of Particulars of Employment, in writing, will need to be provided to employees and workers from the very start of their engagement (whereas previously you had two months to do this). This doesn’t mean that you need to issue a full contract of employment from day one, although many employers do that anyway.

2. Requirements for those Statements of Particulars are changing too and they will need to include more information than before, but you can still hopefully fit them on two sides of A4 (or on one side, in very small font). Those Statements of Particulars will now need to include the following additional details (and these new requirements may entail changes to your full contracts of employment as well):

    • The specific days and hours to be worked, or, in case of variable hours, how those days and hours will be determined;
    • Any paid leave to which the employee / worker is entitled (including statutory entitlements to family-related leave);
    • All contractual remuneration and benefits;
    • Details of any probationary period, including any conditions around it and its duration;
    • Any training entitlement or requirement provided by the employer – including whether any training is mandatory and whether it must be paid for by the employee / worker.

Thankfully, the changes in relation to Statements of Particulars only apply to new employees and workers. They do not apply to your existing staff. We also don’t recommend relying only on the minimum requirement of a Statement of Particulars, so you should always back it up with a full contract of employment anyway.

3. A new entitlement for all employees, to two-weeks Parental Bereavement Leave for parents whose child (up to the age of 18 years) has died. Employees who meet minimal qualification requirements will also be entitled to Parental Bereavement Leave Pay, which must be at least at the statutory determined rate (similar to paternity and shared parental leave pay), but employers may choose to pay more. You should note that “parent” has a much wider definition than only biological parents, and really extends to anyone who does or would have parental responsibility.

4. A big change to the way we work out the average weekly pay for variable hours workers and employees and their holiday pay calculations. The “reference period” for determining average pay will increase to 52 weeks (as opposed to the current 12 weeks), and will be applicable to holiday payments from 6 April 2020. Employers who use a lot of variable hours staff should model this change for budgeting purposes as it could have a significant impact in certain cases.

5. One to bear in mind when negotiating exit packages and severance deals is that all “termination payments” above the £30,000 threshold will now also attract Class 1A National Insurance Contributions.

And…

6. As usual, there will be changes to the National Minimum Wage and other statutory payments, such as statutory sick pay, maternity pay, adoption pay etc.

We haven’t mentioned the changes to off-payroll working rules (IR35), which is a topic in itself. There are obviously significant changes taking place around that in April 2020, so make sure your business is ready for that too.

The content of this article is not intended to be specific legal advice.  If you require any assistance in relation to this area of law, please contact the authors of this article Kath Kidd or Matt Huddleson.