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2020 Vision - what to expect in Employment Law this year!

21 Jan 2020

Brexit

The impact of Brexit on employment law is still something of a mystery. However, the Government, upon winning the election, removed from the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill its promise to safeguard existing workers’ rights which originate from the EU including working time, equal pay and maternity leave rights.

The Government intends to legislate separately to protect and even enhance workers’ rights in a new Employment Bill, further details of which are below.

The Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech set out details of the proposed Employment Bill.

The Bill is to also include provision for a single labour market enforcement agency, the right to request a more predictable contract and the right to neonatal leave and pay for parents of premature or sick babies. It will also extend the redundancy protection for pregnant workers, provide a weeks’ leave for unpaid carers, make flexible working the default position (unless the employer has good reason) and require tips to be received by workers’ in full, all of which were promises made in the Conservative manifesto.

The Good Work Plan

There are already a number of key changes to be implemented on 6 April this year including:

  • A requirement for a written statement of terms to be provided to workers’ from day one of their employment, rather than within 2 months’, which is the current requirement;
  • The holiday pay reference period will change from 12 weeks to 52 weeks so that employers will be required to look back at the whole previous year to calculate an individual’s average weekly pay, discounting any weeks’ not worked; and
  • New provision for bereaved parents to receive two weeks’ leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks’ of pregnancy. Parents employed with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be entitled to receive statutory bereavement pay with payment rates to be confirmed later.
Employment Law: 2020 Vision

Statutory Pay Rates

As of 5 April 2020:

  • The weekly rate of statutory sick pay will be £95.85 (up from £94.25).
  • The weekly rate of statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance plus paternity pay, adoption pay and shared parental pay will be £151.20 (up from £148.68).

Case Law

The Supreme Court will rule on the Mencap case relating to employees who “sleep in” and whether that constitutes working time. The Supreme Court will also consider the employment status of Uber drivers which will no doubt receive a great deal of attention as the controversial issue of employment status rumbles on.

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please contact the Employment Team, or call 0191 232 8345.