What’s on the UK Employment Law Timetable

An overview of the legal changes you can expect in 2020 and beyond

Previously all changes to UK employment law were introduced in either April or October. The Coalition Government abolished this set timetable and now changes to employment law take place at different months throughout the year.

Significant employment law changes are anticipated for 2018 and beyond, amid the ongoing uncertainty resulting from the Brexit referendum.

Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay
April 2020 Employed parents who lose a child will have the right to two weeks’ paid leave to allow them time to grieve.

The new law will support those whose child dies when under the age of 18. Under existing legislation employees only have a day-one right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, including making arrangements following a death. As a result what constitutes a ‘reasonable’ period varies between workplaces.

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National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) Rates
April 2020 The Government update the rates every year in April.
Employment Tribunal Award Limits
April 2020 The Government update the compensation limits to be imposed by employment tribunals every year in April.
Statutory Payments
April 2020 The Government update the Statutory Payments every year in April.
National Insurance on Termination Payments
April 2020 The introduction of employer National Insurance Contributions on termination payments over £30,000 has been delayed for a further year until April 2020.
Increase in the Holiday Reference Period from 12 to 52 Weeks
April 2020 The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1378) increase the reference period used for determining a week’s pay when calculating holiday pay for workers with irregular hours from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. The Government’s Good work plan states that the changes will allow greater flexibility for workers in choosing when to take holiday, particularly for those in seasonal or atypical roles that limit some workers from benefiting from their full holiday pay entitlement. Read More …
Extension of the Right to a Written Statement to all Workers
April 2020 The draft Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 extend the right to a written statement of employment particulars to all workers (including employees).

The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1378) provide that access to a written statement will be a day one right for all workers (including employees). Employers will also have to provide additional information as mandatory content for a written statement.

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Change to Tax Treatment of Termination Payments Above £30,000
April 2020 Employers will be liable to pay Class 1A national insurance contributions on termination payments above £30,000 that are subject to income tax by the employee. The new measure will be introduced in the National Insurance Contributions Bill.
Abolition of the Swedish Derogation Relating to Pay for Agency Workers
April 2020 The draft Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019 abolish the Swedish derogation, which gives employers the ability to pay agency workers less than their own workers in certain circumstances. Under the derogation, agency workers can exchange their right to be paid the same as directly recruited employees for a contract guaranteeing pay between assignments. The Government’s Good work plan, published on 17 December 2018, highlights the misuse of the derogation by some employers. The legislation banning this type of contract is intended to prevent agency workers losing out on their equal pay rights.
Reduction to Threshold for a Request to Set Up Information and Consultation Arrangements
April 2020 The threshold required for a valid request to set up information and consultation arrangements under the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/3426) is reduced from 10% to 2% of employees. The requirement for the request to be made by a minimum of 15 employees remains in place.

The new threshold is provided for by the draft Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019.

Changes to Off-Payroll Working in the Private Sector
April 2020 The Government has announced that large and medium sized businesses in the private sector will be responsible for deciding whether the off-payroll working rules will apply. Where they do apply, the business, agency or third-party paying the individual’s intermediary will need to deduct income tax and National Insurance Contribution before making the payment. The definitions of large and medium sized businesses have not yet been released, but it is thought that the Government will use similar criteria to define small businesses as is currently within the Companies Act 2006. The changes are expected to be introduced from 6 April 2020, with the government publishing a further consultation in the coming months and draft legislation expected in summer 2019.
T-levels
2020 T-Levels were announced in the 2017 Spring Budget, with the aim to replace 15,000 technical qualifications with 15 vocational routes, including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, health, and science.

A key part of the T-Level programme is a mandatory 45-day work placement. Currently most employers (71%) and training providers (74%) offer work placements of one to two weeks for 16 to 19 year olds. Only 8% of employers provide placements of the duration required for T-Levels.

New legislation to ensure that tips and gratuities go to ataff
To Be Confirmed The Government intends to introduce legislation to prevent employers from taking tips and gratuities that should go to staff. The Government’s announcement states that the changes are to prevent “poor tipping practices, including excessive deductions being made from tips left by customers” and that it will introduce the legislation “at the earliest opportunity”.
Increase to the Length of Time Required for Continuity of Employment To Be Broken
To Be Confirmed The time required to break a period of continuous service extends from one week to four weeks. Employees can have a gap of up to four weeks in their service with an employer without it affecting their entitlement to statutory employment rights. The Government’s Good work plan states that the extension of time will make it easier for employees who work intermittently over a period of time for the same employer to access their rights.
New Right for Workers to Request a More Predictable Contract
To Be Confirmed All workers will have the right to request a more predictable and stable contractual working pattern after 26 weeks’ continuous service. The new right was announced in the Government’s Good work plan on 17 December 2018. It is intended to benefit workers who have irregular hours, for example under a zero hours contract, but who would like more certainty on the number of hours they work and/or the days on which they work.

To be confirmed

Income Tax Personal Allowance Linked to National Minimum Wage
To Be Confirmed Any increase in the income tax personal allowance will take into account national minimum wage increases to ensure that workers on the national minimum wage working up to 30 hours per week do not pay income tax. The new measure is contained in the Finance (No.2) Act 2015.
Extension of Shared Parental Leave and Pay to Working Grandparents
Unknown The Government had announced that they intended to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents from 2018, allowing mothers to share maternity leave with one nominated working grandparent. A consultation on the extension was expected in May 2016, however, on 7 November 2017, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed that there are no imminent plans to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents.
State Pension Age Rises to 67 Years
Between 2034 and 2036 The Pensions Act 2007 raises the state pension age for men and women to 67. This will occur between April 2034 and April 2036. The Act can be viewed on the OPSI website.
State Pension Age Rises to 68 Years
Between 2034 and 2036 The Pensions Act 2007 raises the state pension age for men and women to 68. This will occur between April 2044 and April 2046. The Act can be viewed on the OPSI website.
EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 5 working days of sending me your handbook.