Changes to Employment Legislation
Statements of Written Particulars of Employment
The Government is planning to legislate to extend the right to a written statement to all workers, as well as employees, as from day one of commencement of employment with more information provided than is currently required including:
- Details of all types of paid leave such as maternity, paternity, shared parental leave and adoption leave
- Which specific days and times workers are required to work and the duration and conditions of any probationary period.
Legislation is to be introduced whereby workers whose hours vary from week to week and could be in temporary or seasonal employment contracts, the holiday pay reference period will be extended from 12 to 52 weeks.
A ban is to be introduced on employers making deductions from staff tips and it is likely that the existing unlawful deduction from wages legislation would be extended to implement this provision.
Continuity of Service
It is proposed that the current rule on continuity of employment will be changed so that a break of up to four weeks (rather than a week) between contracts will preserve continuity.
The Government has published the statutory rates for maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay and sick pay from 7thApril 2019
- Statutory Maternity Pay will increase from £145.18, or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rates to £148.68 or 90% of average earnings.
- The same increase applies to paternity pay, adoption pay and statutory shared parental pay
- Statutory sick pay will increase from £92.05 to £94.25 per week on 6thApril 2019. To be entitled to these statutory payments, the employee’s average earnings must be equal to or more than the lower earnings limit. The lower earnings limit is increasing from £116 to £118 in April 2019.
National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage.
With effect from April 2019 the following hourly rates will apply:
25 and over 21 to24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
£8.21 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90
Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they are either aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship. Apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age if they are aged 19 or over and have completed the first year of their apprenticeship.
Itemised Pay Statements
From 6thApril 2019 the right to an itemised pay statement will extend to workers, not just employees. Where an employee’s pay varies according to hours worked, the employer will have to include on the pay statement the total number of hours worked for which variable pay is received. This can be done either as an aggregate figure or as separate figures for different types of work or different rates of pay.
Post-Brexit immigration rule changes
Once the UK leave the EU, free movement will end, although in practice this is likely to be delayed pending legislation to repeal the current arrangements and allow time to put in place the practical arrangements necessary to make this possible.
The government has introduced a scheme under which EU workers already in the UK will be able to apply for “settled status” to be able to live and work in the UK indefinitely. However, employers need to be aware that, going forward, the employment of workers from the EU is likely to be subject to restrictions in the same way as the employment of other foreign nationals, so will need to adjust recruitment processes accordingly.
Pending legislation to be aware of:
Parental bereavement leave and pay
The government has confirmed that it intends to introduce a right for bereaved parents to take paid time off work. Under the current proposals, bereaved parents will be able to take leave as a single two-week period, as two separate periods of one week each, or as a single week. They will have 56 weeks from their child’s death to take leave. The new right is expected to come into force in April 2020 but employers should start preparing for it during 2019 and could decide to introduce a bereavement leave policy.
Whilst there are no proposals for legislative changes to the tests for employment status, the plan highlights that legislation will be forthcoming to “improve clarity on employment status” with an on-line tool to be implemented to aid employers and employees on the matter.
Where agency workers have been placed with the same hirer for 12 months provisions are to be introduced for the hirer to consider the worker’s request for a direct contract of employment with the hirer in a reasonable manner. In addition. businesses will have to provide agency workers with a “Key Facts” page setting out the type of contract they are engaged under, how much they will be paid and how and an estimate of take-home pay.
Agency workers can currently exchange their right to be paid equally to permanent counterparts if they enter into a contract guaranteeing pay between assignments. Legislation is to be brought forward to repeal this and ban the use of contracts which withhold agency workers’ equal pay rights.
The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004
These regulations give employees in businesses with 50 or more employees the right to request that their employer sets up arrangements to inform and consult them about issues in the organisation. Currently a request can only be made if 10% of employees support the request. This threshold will be reduced to 2% of employees.
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