Guide to Changes in Employment Law 2020

Deana Bates
Employment Law Solicitor

On 6 April 2020, changes were made to the Employment Rights Act 1996. These changes will impact employers and employees in England and Wales and could impact your job.

These changes include:

Read more about how these changes could affect you at work.

Right to a Written Employment Contract

From the 6 April 2020, your employer must give you a written employment contract, also known as a Statement of Terms, by the first day of employment. Previously, employers had up to two months from your start date to give you an employment contract.

No matter what your job role is, all employees or workers, including casual and zero hours workers should be given a written employment contract as a day one right.

If your employer doesn’t give you one, you could apply to an Employment Tribunal to ask them to decide the terms of your employment. This would not be a claim for compensation, this would be a request for the Employment Tribunal to decide the terms of your employment because your employer hasn’t given you a written statement.

Although there is no opportunity to bring a compensation claim in an Employment Tribunal for failure to provide a written statement of terms, if you are bringing another claim in the Employment Tribunal, for example a discrimination claim, you could include an additional claim for compensation for failure to provide a written statement of terms.

There are also changes to the level of detail that should be included in your written statement of terms.

Agency Workers Rules Amendments

If you’re an agency worker who’s been in the same role for 12 continuous weeks, you should be given equal pay to any other staff at your workplace, including those employed directly by the business.

Recruitment agencies had until 30 April 2020 to tell all workers who this affects of the new change to the law. All employment agencies now also have to provide a Key Information Document setting out the terms of their working arrangement. 

Adjustments to Holiday Pay Reference Periods

Previously, holiday pay for those working irregular hours, including seasonal workers, was calculated by looking back over a 12 week reference period. This meant that seasonal workers often got lower holiday pay, particularly if the 12 week reference period included a time where they weren’t working much because of the seasonal nature of their work.

The new amendment means that for anyone working irregular hours, holiday pay is now calculated with a reference period of 52 weeks. This gives workers more flexibility when choosing when to take their holidays, without impacting their levels of pay. 

Parental Bereavement

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 came into force meaning that from April 6 2020, bereaved parents have the right to two weeks leave if their child dies before they are 18 years old or is stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy.

Parents can choose whether to take this leave as a block of two weeks, or two separate weeks and it must be taken within 56 days of the child’s death. If you have 26 weeks continuous service in your job on the Saturday before your child’s death, you’ll be paid statutory parental bereavement pay. If not, you can still take your two weeks leave, but it will be unpaid.

Help and Advice on Employment Law

If you have an employment law issue our team of specialist Employment Solicitors can help you. Whether it’s about any of the changes in this article or something else, we can give you specialist legal advice.

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