Recent changes in employment law

April is commonly a busy month in respect of employment legislation and particularly more so this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. On 6 April 2020 the Government introduced new legislation that will require employers to implement and amend their employment policies in line with the new changes.

Some of this might have been overlooked given the focus on coronavirus, so we have prepared a brief overview of some of the key legislation changes to assist you.

Parental bereavement leave and pay

Parental bereavement leave (“PBL”) is a period of time off for an employee to deal with the death of a child under 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. As of 6 April 2020, the eligible parent will have the right to 2 weeks’ leave. The leave may be taken as one whole week, two consecutive weeks or two separate weeks at different times. PBL can be taken in the 56 weeks following the death of the employee’s child. The reasoning behind allowing 56 weeks in which to take the leave, is to enable employees to take their second week of leave around the anniversary of the child’s death, should they wish to do this. If more than one child dies, the employee is entitled to 2 weeks’ leave for each child. PBL is only available for employees, therefore, anyone classed as a worker is not eligible. However, workers may be eligible for statutory parental bereavement pay for any time off they chose to take.

Statutory parental bereavement payis paid at the same rate as other statutory payments. The current rate is £151.20 a week or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is the lower. The Government guidance states that employers’ PBL and statutory parental bereavement pay policies should be clear and easily accessible to staff.

Written terms for workers

As of 6 April 2020, workers have the same right as employees to be given a written statement of terms from their employer. The written statement must be given on or before the first day of engagement, regardless for how long the worker will be employed.

The written terms must include:

  • the hours and days the worker is required to work and whether the hours may be variable;
  • entitlements to any paid leave;
  • details of any probationary period;
  • details of all remuneration and benefits; and
  • any training entitlement provided the employer, including whether any training is mandatory and/or must be paid by the worker

Holiday pay calculations

Calculating the holiday pay of a worker or employee who has irregular hours was previously done by averaging the number of hours worked over the last 12 week period, known as ‘the pay reference period’. From 6 April 2020, the pay reference period has been increased to 52 weeks or, for those who have worked less than that 52 weeks, the total number of complete weeks they have worked. Employers should therefore ensure that they have up-to-date records for the 52 weeks prior 6 April 2020 and maintain those records going forward.

Statutory pay rates

From the 6 April 2020, the following statutory pay rates will increase from £148.68 per week to £151.20 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is the lower:

  • maternity pay
  • paternity pay
  • adoption pay
  • shared parental pay

The statutory sick pay rate has also been increased from £94.25 per week to £95.85.

The information in this article is provided for general information purposes only. It should not be considered legal advice and you should not rely on this information in making any business, legal or other decisions. MS Rubric shall have no liability to you in respect of the information contained in this article, without limitation, including arising by any breach of contract, arising by tort (including, without limitation, the tort of negligence or negligent misstatement) or arising by a breach of statutory duty.