Five Things for Employers to Consider in 2020

February 11, 2020

Various changes to employment law are coming into force over the next few months which should prompt employers to consider reviewing and, where necessary, updating their employment documentation and/or processes. Five particular things for UK employers to consider in 2020 are:

  1.  Written Particulars. Changes to the requirements of section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to provide a written statement of particulars of employment come into force with effect from 6 April 2020. These changes will require certain additional written information to be provided to new workers, not just employees as at present, and for the most part in one document. The information must also be provided by no later than the first day of employment or engagement. The additional information which now needs to be included in section 1 statements may already be included in an employer’s standard form contracts but certain details may not have been provided before – for example, details as to training entitlements offered by the employer and a comprehensive list of benefits. Full details of these changes can be found here.
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  3. Parental Bereavement Leave. A new entitlement to parental bereavement leave comes into force on 6 April 2020. All employees will be entitled to 2 weeks' statutory leave – which may be taken in one block or as two separate blocks of a week – if a child of theirs under the age of 18 dies, or a parent suffers a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Those employees with at least 26 weeks' service and who meet minimum earnings criteria will also qualify for statutory parental bereavement pay (as the same rate as statutory paternity pay). Employers will want to ensure that their policy documents are up to date to reflect this new entitlement and to consider whether to enhance this parental leave entitlement benefit consistent with any other enhancements they offer in respect of leave entitlements. Further details of the new statutory right can be found here.

  4. IR35. The off payroll working rules (“IR35”) are planned to come into force for the private sector in April 2020. Although the Government has recently commenced a review of the proposed implementation of IR35, it seems unlikely that the legislation will not come into effect as planned. The impact of IR35 is that an end user client engaging a consultant through a service company may be deemed his/her employer for tax purposes – and therefore liable to pay tax and NIC through PAYE. Failing to do so could lead to penalties and fines. As a result, consultancy arrangements involving personal service companies and LLPs should be carefully analysed to ensure that the IR35 rules do not engage and that individuals providing relevant services are truly self-employed.

  5. Holiday Pay. The “reference period” over which a worker's normal remuneration should be calculated to determine the individual's holiday pay will be increased from 12 to 52 weeks with effect from 6 April 2020. This change is unlikely to require amendments to the contracts of workers or employees but may mean that employer's systems need to be updated to ensure that their pay and its different elements - such as compulsory and voluntary overtime, bonuses and commissions - are adequately recorded for the purposes of calculating holiday pay.

  6. GDPR Compliance. Whilst GDPR has now been in place for some time, it is worth all employers (and indeed data controllers) checking that their documentation addressing compliance with that legislation remains valid and appropriate. In particular, privacy notices should be “living” documents – updated, for example, whenever new types of personal data are collected, and when data is provided to other third parties. Appropriate processes should have been put in place to capture such changes – if not, a fresh data mapping exercise may be prudent.