Nov 2019 – Preparing for Legal Changes & Managing Staff Holidays
Employment Update for Small Businesses
This month we have a reminder of some quite significant changes afoot for employers, relating to the format of the written statement of employment that you issue to employees (and will have to issue to workers). Also, a prompt to plan ahead with your staff holidays to try to avoid any backlog or rancour as we head into the festive season!
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.
New written statement of employment particulars required
From April 2020, employers will need to issue written statements of employment particulars by no later than the first day of employment (currently you have up to two months after someone starts working for you). Also, you will need to issue these statements to workers as well as employees. Workers are people who work personally for you but not under a contract of employment (see next month’s update for further information on this distinction). That could include casual staff and agency temps.
Also, you will be obliged to provide more information than the current statutory minimum. That includes the days of the week the worker must work and, if hours are variable, information about how the employer decides on the variation in hours.
Our existing clients will not need to worry about these changes because we will be reviewing their written statements of employment before April, to make sure they are compliant. We will also be checking with them about any workers they may engage, ensuring we produce appropriate statements for them in order to comply with these new rules. If you would like to find out how we may be able to help you please contact us.
Are Staff Storing up Holiday?
Avoiding the end of year rush
Now that the clocks have gone back and evenings have become much darker, we know that the end of the year is rapidly approaching. For many employers that means that there is a limited amount of time left to achieve targets and that becomes narrowed down further when you factor in Christmas closures and the general slow down associated with the festive period. What can exacerbate matters further is where staff have still not taken all their holiday for the year and you face a lot of last minute holiday requests.
If your holiday year ends on 31st December, you would be wise to check your staff’s entitlements to see if anyone has holiday left to take. You can then encourage them to book it at a time that is convenient to the business or you could even give them notice and force them to take it at a particular time. You need to give notice of at least double the duration of the leave to be taken (e.g. two weeks’ notice for one week’s holiday).
Admittedly, with only two months to go it may be a bit late in the day to be facing this issue now, but at least you can try to minimise the impact. You could also consider, on an exceptional basis, allowing staff to carry forward some of their holiday into the New Year (in fact your holiday policy may allow for that already). If you don’t want this to become a precedent, just make it clear that this is being offered on an exceptional basis. You could then make a New Year’s resolution to monitor staff holidays regularly throughout the year with a view to avoiding a backing up of holiday in future years.
(Don’t forget that our recommended HR System – breatheHR – makes reporting on holidays a complete breeze).
National Minimum and Living Wage Rates
The current National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are:
£8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and over
£7.70 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24
£6.15 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20
£4.35 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
£3.90 per hour 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.