Employment law is seeing quite a large shake up in April, with a lot of important changes which will affect everyone: it is important that we understand what needs to be done in advance and plan accordingly. This date is fast approaching and we strive to provide our clients with thorough, relevant and accurate information in good time. We have listed six action points that will need to be carried out and make the most impact on our clients and other employers.
1. Comply with the new rules on written particulars. The new rules state a new employee will be entitled to their ‘written particulars’ in terms of a contract on or before their official start date. Previous legislation required this statement within a maximum of two months after their start date. The reason for this change is to give new employees full knowledge of their contract terms, relevant policies and their entitlement in good time. This progresses the onboarding process with the correct information on the likes of annual leave, sickness absence procedure and probation period and clarifies expectations on both sides from the very beginning.
2. Change how you calculate holiday pay with workers with irregular hours. The current reference period for this is currently 12 weeks which can be unequal for these types of workers who are often seasonal. The new legislation has confirmed the new timescale to calculate from is 52 weeks. This ensures equality throughout the year and ensures the correct entitlement will be given.
3. Amend policies to include parental bereavement leave and pay. This new entitlement allows parents or primary carers to receive two weeks paid leave after the death of a child under the age of 18, giving parents and carers time to grieve and not worry about the financial situation when dealing with a death. This also shows compassion from the company which will aid the return to work process.
4. Comply with national minimum wage and other statutory rises. The national minimum wage will rise again in April (click here for previous blog with more details) and SSP/SMP will also increase. The increased pay rate compliments the successful employment rate and growth the UK has experienced in the last ten years. Not complying with the new rates could land your company in front of a judge with a hefty fine of a maximum £20,000 per worker.
5. Carry out Brexit planning. We have now entered official Brexit territory, this can mean more changes to HR. An important change to pay attention to is the introduction of ‘Settlement Status”. EU nationals will need to apply online to receive this status which themselves and their families will be entitled to if they have resided in the UK for 5 years or more. The benefits include pensions, healthcare and education. This can be done easily online via the government website.
6. Look out for other HR changes. An employment bill is in the works with the following points.
- introducing a new right for all workers to request a more predictable contract
- allowing parents to take extended leave for neonatal care; and introducing an entitlement to one week’s leave for unpaid carers
- extending redundancy protections to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination
- subject to consultation, making flexible working the default unless employers have “good reason not to.”
- creating a new, single enforcement body, offering greater protections for workers; ensuring that tips left for workers go to them in full
It’s important to be ready and prepared for these changes; following these actions will ensure you stay informed and legally compliant. Without the correct planning a company can be faced with prosecution and large penalties. Communicating the changes to employees will also be an important step alongside making the changes. If you require any further guidance on documentation, managing changes or supporting staff members with the changes, please call our expert consultants on 01206 700 690 or email us at email@example.com