March 2020 – Employment Law Changes April 2020 & Coronavirus Guidance
Employment Update for Small Businesses
We have a number of changes taking effect at the start of April as I reported last month, so this newsletter provides a reminder of the changes and further details. Also, I have touched on the hot potato that is Coronavirus and the impact on employers.
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.
From 6th April, written statements will need to be provided to workers as well as employees and they must be provided on or before the first day of employment. Generally, “workers” would include anyone who is on PAYE but is not considered an employee. This could include casual workers. Please contact us if you need any help meeting this new requirement.
There are other changes taking effect at the same time related to the written statement of employment. It must contain the days of work and whether such days or hours may be variable. Where there are no set days, you can get around that by clearly stating that they are variable and many of you will already comply with that requirement. But if you have any concerns please contact us. You also need to state if there are other types of paid leave (in addition to holiday), so written statements will need to be updated to cover that (a simple reference to the staff handbook will be all that is needed in most cases).
You need to include details of any benefits also (e.g. health cover), so if you offer any benefits that are not currently included in the written statement you will now need to include them.
The final new requirement is to stipulate any training that is provided by the employer and details of any mandatory training.
We are in the process of updating these documents for our retained clients. If you would be interested in finding out more about our retained service and the peace of mind that it can offer, please contact us.
Calculating Holiday Pay
For people who work variable hours, employers have had to calculate pay when they take holiday on the basis of the average pay from the preceding 12 weeks. With effect from 6th April, that period is changing and you will now need to take the average over the last 52 weeks (or from the commencement of employment if that is shorter).
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).
If you have a staff handbook, then I would recommend you update it to include a section on Bereavement Leave to make sure this is covered (and to tie in with the requirement to stipulate other types of paid leave, as mentioned above).
From 5th April the statutory rates for paternity, maternity, shared parental and adoption leave all increase to £151.20 per week.
From 6th April, Statutory Sick Pay increases to £95.85 per week.
Coronavirus / COVID-19
Guidance for Employers
This is a rapidly developing situation, as I am sure you are aware, so I would recommend that you keep on top of the Government Guidance, which is likely to be updated fairly frequently.
The main concern for employers will relate to staff who travel either on business or on holiday, and may present a risk in the workplace if they are likely to spread the virus. It would be advisable, therefore, to communicate with your staff and ask them to let you know if they are planning on any trips outside the UK so that you can take a view on the risk. If the Government Guidance states that they need to self-isolate, then you are advised to treat the time off as sick leave and pay whatever the sick pay entitlement is under their contract of employment.
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 £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.