04/05/20 Employment Law Update – It can be hard enough to keep up with changes in Employment Law at the best of times but with the current pandemic and related schemes such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme dominating general and HR/Employment Law publications it would be easy for some unrelated changes to slip through the net. In this article we recap on the key legislative changes which occurred in April (and those that did not).
Holiday Pay Calculations and Statements of Employment Particulars
In April the statutory reference period for calculating holiday pay in respect of workers with variable working hours or pay (such as zero hours workers) increased from 12 to 52 weeks. At the same time all workers (not just employees) are now entitled to a statement of written particulars from day one of their employment. In addition to the information which previously had to be provided within two months of the start of employment, the statement must also now include particulars of the days of the week the worker is required to work, whether or not such hours are variable (and if they are, how they vary and how the variation is to be determined), any terms and conditions relating to any other paid leave (in addition to the details of holiday leave and sick leave which are already required) , the duration and conditions of any probationary period and details of any training entitlement provided.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave & Pay
April 6th also saw the introduction of Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay which allows for paid time off to deal with the death of a child under the age of 18 still born after 24 weeks’ pregnancy. The right applies to biological parents, adoptive parents (if the child is living with them), those who lived with and had responsibility for the child (for at least 4 weeks before their death), intended parents (due to become a parent through surrogacy) or a partner of the child’s parent if they live with the child and the child’s parent in an enduring family relationship. Parental bereavement leave applies to employees from day 1 of employment and an employee can choose to take 1 or 2 weeks leave (if choosing 2 weeks it can be split into 2 periods of 1 week) which can be taken in the 56 weeks following their child’s death. In the first 8 weeks leave can be started as soon as the employee gives notice which need not be in writing. For leave after the first 8 weeks, the notice required is 1 week.
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP) applies to both employees and workers who are entitled to 2 weeks SPBP provided they have worked for the employer for at least 26 weeks of continuous service and earn on average at least £120 per week. SPBP is the minimum employers must pay eligible staff who will get either £151.20 per week (current statutory amount) or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is the lower. Requests for SPBP must be in writing and must be given within 28 days of the commencement of the leave. The request must confirm the employee’s/worker’s name; their entitlement to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay; the start and end dates of the leave they intend to claim pay for; the date of the child’s death and their relationship with the child.
Increases to Minimum / Statutory Payments
As of 1st April 2020, the following new rates apply in respect of national living and minimum wage:
- National living wage for workers aged 25 and over increases to £8.72 per hour;
- National minimum wage rates increase to £8.20 for workers aged 21 to 24, to £6.45 for workers aged 18 to 20 and to £4.55 for workers aged 16 or 17.
From 6th April the weekly rate of statutory sick pay increased to £95.85. As of the same date the Statutory Guarantee Payment (applicable during periods of lay off) increased to £30 per day with a maximum claim of £150 (i.e. 5 days) in any 3-month period.
From 5th April the weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increased to £151.20 from 5 April 2020.
From 6th April, the weekly pay cap applied to statutory redundancy pay increased to £538. That same figure will also apply to basic awards in respect of unfair dismissal claims.
The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases to £88,519 (subject to the usual 12-month cap if lower) for dismissals that take place on or after 6th April 2020.
And to finish, let’s look at what didn’t happen as planned in April
April would have been the deadline for the next round of gender pay gap reporting. However, in view of the Coronavirus pandemic the government announced that it had suspended this year’s enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting requirements that apply to businesses with 250 or more employees. That said, by the time the announcement was made many of those businesses would have been well on their way to finalising the report which they can still choose to publish.
Important changes to the off-payroll working regulations known as IR35, which will see many private sector employers become responsible for the payment of tax and national insurance on behalf of certain self-employed contractors have also been delayed until April 2021 in an effort to support the British economy through the Coronavirus pandemic.
Thank you for reading: 04/05/20 Employment Law Update
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