February 2020 – Post Brexit – right to work in the UK
Employment Update for Small Businesses
You may have noticed that February’s newsletter is a little early. There are two reasons for that: 1. I am on holiday next week, the first week of February (yes, in the EU!) and 2. I want to tell you about what happens in terms of EU citizens’ right to work in the UK after we leave the EU on Friday, 31st January.
The headline is that everything will be pretty much the same at least until 31st December whilst the government tries to negotiate a deal with the EU, but there are steps that EU workers may wish to take over the coming months to help secure their position. Read on for more.
I also have an update on changes coming into force in April.
Please contact me if you would like to find out a bit more about any of the subjects raised in this update or if you need any help or advice.
Please forward this email to any of your contacts who might find it of benefit.
The UK leaves the EU on 31st January 2020, but nothing very much will change until 1st January 2021. Employers should continue to carry out the standard right to work checks up to and including 31st December 2020, and will not need to carry out any further checks after that date for those that you have already checked.
EU nationals* are being encouraged to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme which will allow them to continue living and working in the UK after 31st December, whether or not the UK and EU reach a deal by that date. The Government has produced a “toolkit” for employers to help them share information with their workforce about the Scheme.
After 31st December 2020, EU nationals coming into the UK would be subject to immigration controls in a similar way to those currently coming into the country from outside the EU. However, it is likely that the immigration system will be updated before that date, particularly as the Government has indicated that it would like to introduce a points-based system, similar to the Australian system. We will keep you posted on developments.
(*I have used the term “EU nationals” for the sake of simplicity, but this should be read more widely to cover citizens of EU countries, those in the EEA (European Economic Area) and Swiss citizens).
New Employment Laws
From April 2020
As you may recall from earlier newsletters, employers will need to take on board some new rules in April.
Written Statements of Employment
Currently these must be supplied to employees no later than two months after their start date. However, from April this changes so that they must be issued by no later than the first day of employment and they must also be issued to “workers” as well as employees (please see December’s newsletter for guidance on the definition of a worker).
We always advocate issuing written statements of employment at the offer stage in any case, so that there is absolute clarity about what people are signing up to. We help our retained clients with the drafting of these documents so that it is very easy for them to comply. We will also be working with them over the coming months to identify any workers who may now need such a written statement and drafting appropriate documents for them. If that is something you need help with, please contact us.
Parental Bereavement Leave
From 6th April, a new entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave is being introduced. This gives parents of a child who dies the statutory right to one or two weeks’ bereavement leave, paid at the rate of £151.20 or 90% of normal pay (whichever is less).
Currently there is no statutory right to paid bereavement leave, although some unpaid time off would be covered under the statutory right to time off for dependants.
National Minimum and Living Wage Rates
New Rates from April 2020
From 1st April 2020, the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates will increase as follows:
to £8.72 per hour (from £8.21) for workers aged 25 and over
to £8.20 per hour (from £7.70) for workers aged 21 to 24
to £6.45 per hour (from from £6.15) for workers aged 18 to 20
to £4.55 per hour (from £4.35) for workers aged 16 and 17
to £4.15 per hour (from £3.90) for apprentices under 19 and those over 19 in their first year*
*N.B. Apprentices over 19 and who have completed at least one year are entitled to the appropriate rate for their age.