With January well under way, it is a good time to look at recent developments in Employment Law, and what they might mean for Employers and Employees planning for the next 12 months and beyond. In this article, Carla Gowing, Hatch Brenner Employment Solicitor, covers some interesting areas to be aware of:
Gig economy and employment policy
Further to the Taylor Review in 2017, which investigated concerns regarding employment status and the gig economy, the Government has published its ‘Good Work Plan’.
Whilst there is no overall implementation timetable, the Government has announced a number of measures which will take effect by April 2020.
The first change, which takes effect in April 2019, will quadruple the penalties that tribunals can impose on employers for ‘aggravated’ breaches of employment rights. The right to itemised pay statements being extended to most workers will take effect at the same time.
In April 2020 further changes are expected, including:
- The extension of the right to written particulars of employment to workers;
- Changing the reference period to determine the statutory holiday pay of workers on variable pay from 12 to 52 weeks.
- Bereaved parents of a child under 18 will have a right to take up to two weeks’ leave from their employment from day one eg immediately upon commencing employment. It is envisaged that parents will be able to take this leave in blocks of one week up to 56 weeks after the child’s death.
Looking further ahead, the Government has promised various additional measures, including an increase to the amount of information which must be included in the written particulars of employment which should be provided at the outset of the relationship, plus the introduction of a right for some workers on variable hours to request more regular working arrangements.
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act became law in September 2018 and is likely to come into effect in April 2020. The full details of the new right will be set out in regulations which have not yet been made. However, the broad framework is that:
- In addition, employees who have completed at least 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to parental bereavement pay at the statutory flat rate (currently £145.18 a week) or 90 percent of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
- The right will extend to parents of stillborn children if the stillbirth occurs after 24 weeks of pregnancy. It is understood that existing maternity and paternity rights in relation to children who die while parents are already accessing these rights will remain.
Auto enrolment contributions increase to 8% in April 2019, of which employers have to pay 3%. Employees may therefore query why their net pay is reduced, which could be due to their increased contributions.