Employment Law Updates

Employment law is continually changing. I keep track of the latest employment law changes so you don't have to, and on this page you will find my regular round-up of legislation.

30 July 2020

Redundancy pay and furlough scheme

New law will ensure that furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate

Changes will mean those furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are not underpaid if they are made redundant.

This will also apply to statutory notice pay and other entitlements, providing some reassurance during this difficult time.

28 May 2020

Right to statutory sick pay when self-isolating due to contact with coronavirus introduced

Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No.4) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/539) statethat an employee who is self- isolating for 14 days because they have been notified that they have had contact with an individual with COVID-19 is deemed to be incapable of work due to coronavirus and is therefore entitled to statutory sick pay.

6 April 2020

Good work plan: agency workers, calculating annual leave, statement of terms

Agency workers

In the ‘Good work plan’, published in December 2018, the government made a commitment to abolish a legal loophole known as the ‘Swedish derogation’ in the agency worker rules. This allowed agencies to opt out of equalising the pay of agency staff with the permanent workforce, when the worker had been with the same employer for more than 12 weeks, by paying agency workers between assignments. The opt-out ceases on 6 April 2020 when the Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019 come into force.

Agency workers also become entitled on this date to a ‘Key information’ document, specifying what type of contract they are on, their rate of pay, how they will be paid and by which company.

Annual leave

The government is lengthening the reference period for determining an average week’s pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks from 6 April 2020 - see the Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018. The reform is intended to improve the holiday pay for seasonal workers, who tend to lose out over the way it is currently calculated.

Statement of terms

Both employees and workers must receive a statement of ‘written particulars’ (basic employment terms and conditions) as a day one right from this date (see Part 3 of Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019). Both became entitled to an itemised payslip on this date last year.

6 April 2020

Tax on termination payments

From this date, termination payments over the sum of £30,000 become subject to employer National Insurance contributions (NICs).

6 April 2020

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rates

SSP has increased from £94.25 to £95.85 per week.

1 April 2020

National living/minimum wage rises

From this date, the National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over rises to £8.72 an hour.

The new rates were announced on 31 December 2019 and follow the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations.

Year 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
April 2020 (current rate) £8.72 £8.20 £6.45 £4.55 £4.15

27 March 2020

Holiday carry over extended

The government announced a temporary relaxation of the rules on carrying over untaken holiday on this date in response to the Covid-19 emergency. The Working Time (Coronavirus)(Amendment) Regulations 2020 allow workers to carry over leave they were unable to take due to the Coronavirus outbreak into the next two leave years.

The relaxation of the rules only applies to the four weeks statutory leave under EU rules. The UK’s extra 1.6 weeks’ leave can still only be carried over into the next leave year.

Acas guidance says reasons for being unable to take leave could include:

  • self-isolating or being too ill to take leave
  • being temporarily laid off or ‘furloughed’
  • having to work through holidays.

The amended regulations have immediate effect.