There are a number of changes to employment law that you should be aware of, which are designed to give greater protection to those working under more flexible work arrangements. From increased protection of agency workers to changes in the calculation of holiday pay, we’ve summarised the areas you need to know to stay compliant.
What is the Good Work Plan?
The traditional view of employment relationships in the UK has struggled to accommodate the gradual evolution of new working practices, which has been influenced by the increased presence of technology and digital platforms.
The changes were highlighted by the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices in July 2017, in which 53 recommendations were suggested and most being accepted in principle by the government. This then launched several major consultations on how these proposals could be implemented into UK businesses and as a result, the government published the Good Work Plan.
AHR Consultants have put together this short overview of these changes and how they are likely to impact your business.
Changes taking effect on 6 April 2020
The right to a written statement of particulars
Currently, employers must provide a written statement setting out the basic terms of employment to all employees whose employment lasts for one month or more. This must be provided within eight weeks of their start date. Under the new legislation, this must be provided to the employee by day one of their employment. In another significant change, the right to a written statement of particulars has been extended to include workers as well as employees. In addition to the changes of who and when the statements need to be given, the legislation also requires the following additional information to be included:
- The days of the week the employee is expected to work
- Whether days or hours are variable and if so, the basis on which they will be determined
- All benefits provided by the employer
- Probationary period details including conditions for passing and duration
- Details of training entitlement, mandatory training etc. (including mandatory training which is not funded by the employer)
AHR Consultants supply contract templates to our existing clients, these will be fully updated in line with these requirements and can be found on the online portal.
Increase in the period over which holiday pay is calculated
Currently, the holiday pay of a worker who has irregular working hours is calculated by averaging the number of hours worked over the previous 12 weeks (known as ‘the pay reference period’). Under the new regulations, from 6 April 2020, the pay reference period will be 52 weeks or, for those workers who have been working for less than 52 weeks, the total number of weeks they have worked. This change is designed to avoid workers losing out where their working hours are subject to fluctuations such as seasonal variations.
Increased protection for agency workers
Currently, agency workers are entitled to be paid the same rates as permanent employees after 12 weeks. This is unless they are working under specific contractual arrangements under which they receive a minimum level of pay when they are between assignments; this is known as the ‘Swedish derogation’ model. From April 2020, this model will be abolished and the right to comparable pay will apply to all agency workers after 12 weeks. The government has also introduced an obligation to provide agency workers with a Key Facts page providing basic information about their contract, pay rates and pay arrangements.
Changes coming into effect with no set implementation date
The government has also announced other changes as part of the Good Work Plan. Presently, there are no confirmed implementation date for these changes:
- Increase in the break of service period
- Right to request a stable contract
The government is currently undertaking three significant consultations which may result in further legislation updates with regards to the following areas:
- Flexible working
- Protections for disabled employees
- Employment status
These consultations are all coming to an end in October and after that, we should have a better idea of which ones the government is likely to approve and when and how they will be implemented.