In this article, we’re taking a welcome break from thinking about coronavirus to look at changes to employment law which are coming in to force in April 2020. As always, if you have any queries or if we can assist you in any way regarding these changes, please contact us.
In Northern Ireland and Great Britain:
- The national minimum wage increases from 1st April as follows:-
|Wage band||Current rate||Rate from 1 April 2020|
|25 and over||£8.21||£8.72|
|21 to 24||£7.70||£8.20|
|18 to 20||£6.15||£6.45|
2. From 6th April, a “salary premium” will no longer count towards meeting the national minimum wage requirements. For example where a higher hourly rate is paid for working on a bank holiday, then the difference between the higher bank holiday rate, and the flat rate, is discounted for the purposes of calculating whether the individual is receiving the national minimum wage.
3. The normal weekly rate of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, statutory adoption pay and statutory shared parental pay increases from £148.68 to £151.20.
4. Statutory Sick Pay increases from £94.25 to £95.85 per week.
5. The statutory guarantee payment increases from £29 to £30 per day.
In Northern Ireland only:
1. The maximum amount of “a week’s pay” for the purpose of calculating a redundancy payment or for various awards including the basic or additional award of compensation for unfair dismissal increases from £547 to £560.
2. The limit on amount of compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £86,614 to £88,693.
In Great Britain only:
- The maximum amount of a week’s pay (used for calculating a redundancy payment and for various awards including the unfair dismissal basic award) increases from £525 to £538 (contrast with Northern Ireland).
- The limit on amount of unfair dismissal compensatory award increases from £86,444 to £88,519 (again, contrast with Northern Ireland).
- Workers and employees will be entitled to a written statement of employment particulars on day 1 of work. Previously a written statement of terms had to be provided to employees (not workers) within two months of starting work.
- The written statement of employment particulars must contain additional content including how long the job is expected to last, details of benefits given by the employer, specific days and times of work (this will present a challenge for casual/zero hours contracts). If days and hours of work vary, then details of how they will vary should be provided in the statement.
- Parental Bereavement Leave will allow employed parents paid leave for a minimum of two weeks on the death of a child aged under 18. The right to Parental Bereavement Leave is a day 1 right – there is no length of service requirement. The right to Parental Bereavement Pay (currently to £151.20 per week or 90% of weekly pay, whichever is lower), is acquired after 26 weeks continuous employment, provided the individual earns at least the lower earnings limit (currently £118 per week). The leave can be taken in a two-week block or two separate weeks, within 56 weeks of the child’s death. “Parent” includes guardian, foster parent, others with day to day responsibility for the child.
- Changes to the Agency Worker Regulations – Currently the regulations contain a “Swedish derogation” which allowed agencies to directly employ agency workers and avoid paying equal pay with permanent employees after 12 weeks. This is being abolished from April 2020. Agency workers can still be directly employed by an agency, but they will be entitled to equal pay compared to the hirer’s employees after 12 weeks on assignment. Agencies will have to give workers a statement confirming the terms under which they work and confirming their right to equal pay. By 30th April, Agencies must provide written confirmation to those with an existing contract containing a Swedish derogation provision saying that the Swedish derogation provision will no longer apply.
- There is a change to Holiday Pay reference period for workers with irregular hours or on zero hour contracts. Instead of a 12 week average, holiday pay will be calculated by reference to an average over 52 weeks of employment, or up to 104 weeks in some cases.
We hope this is helpful. If you have any queries, please contact us.