Important changes to employment law

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Among all the Brexit talk, 2019 brings proposed employment law changes, increases to statutory rates and some further developments on worker status. In this article, our partner ‘The HR Point’ explains all you need to know about these important changes…

Employment law changes

You may have heard that the Government is planning some fairly important changes to employment law, this is in response to the Good Work Report.

The gig economy has been an area of focus recently and some of the changes are intended to address some of the issues in this area.

Below we highlight some of the details of the new legislation that has been released and the dates they take effect.

From 6th April 2019 – increase in financial penalties for aggravated breaches of employment law.

From 6th April 2020:

  1. Written Statements of particulars, currently employers have 8 weeks from the employee joining to provide this, from 6th April 2020 this will change to day one. You will also have to provide this to workers as well as employees.    The Regulations also add to the areas that must be covered in a written statement to include:+
    1. Normal working hours, days of the work the worker is required to work on and if the hours or days of work are variable and how they may be varied.
    2. Any paid leave other than holiday
    3. Any other benefits
    4. Details of any probationary period including conditions and its duration
    5. Any training entitlement including ant part that is required and any other training the worker is required to complete, and the employer is not funding
  2. The regulations also change the rules on calculating holiday pay for variable pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
  3. The threshold for triggering an Information and Consultation from 10% to 2% with the minimum of 15 still in place.
  4. The Swedish Derogation model for Agency Works will be repealed meaning it can no longer be used to avoid paying agency workers the same as the engaging businesses employees.

Other changes are planned but legislation is not available yet.

Employment Status!

You can not have missed all the news on employment status in the so called gig economy.  The most recent decision was that Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed.

Why is this important?
The gig economy is ever growing and a focus of the Good Work Report, which noted that individuals are taking the brunt of flexibility and insecurity and that this needs addressing.  There will be legislation to have one model for tax and employment, at the moment you can end up with different statuses for tax and employment.  Tax has two statues of employed or self-employed, whereas employment has three, employee (who has full rights), worker (limited rights including National Minimum Wage, holiday pay and rest breaks) and self employed.  One clear method of distinguishing will be helpful for all parties.

Employment status recent cases
There have been some very interesting judgements recently including:

  • Finding a self employed accountant who was paid a quarterly payment to provide services on an exclusive basis was an employee
  • That that 27 National Gallery art educators were ‘workers’

There is also a claim being made from a PHd student that she had workers status – watch this space.

So we are still in a position where determining an individual’s status as an employee, worker or self employed is as unclear as ever!  It is more important than ever to ensure you take advice and make sure you are as covered as possible.

New rates

Statutory rates increase from 7th April 2019 to:

  • Lower earnings limit – £118 per weeks
  • Statutory Maternity / Paternity / Parental leave rate £148.58 per week
  • Statutory redundancy pay weekly rate £525 per week
  • Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal £86,444 or a years pay
  • Statutory Sick Pay £94.25 per week

National Minimum / Living Wage also rises from 1 April 2019 to:

Workers aged
25 and over
£8.21 an hour
Workers aged
21-24
£7.70 an hour
Development rate for
workers aged
18-20
£6.15 an hour
Young workers rate
for workers aged
16-17
£4.35 an hour
Apprentice rate £3.90 an hour

The HR Point provides bespoke HR advice and employment law support to businesses with employees in the UK.

For MIA Members, The HR Point is your point of contact for all human resource related matters. Email alice@mia.org.uk  for more details on how to use this benefit.

http://www.thehrpoint.co.uk