What better way to start off the New Year than a summary of some of the important employment law changes coming your way in 2019 and 2020!
Firstly, the Equality and Human Rights Commission is due to produce a new statutory code of practice on sexual harassment which, if followed by employers, will help show that they have taken reasonable steps to prevent behaviour such as this in the workplace.
The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave (Amendment)) Regulations 2018 are also due to come into force on 6 April 2019 (and take effect in April 2020) which will implement parts of the government’s Good Work Plan such as the right to be provided with a written statement of terms on day one (rather than within two months). It will also increase the minimum amount of information a written statement must contain and change the reference period for determining an average week’s pay (for the purposes of calculating statutory holiday pay) from 12 weeks to 52 weeks (to protect workers that have no normal working hours). New legislation introducing a right for all workers to be provided with an itemised pay statement will also come into force in April 2019.
We also hope to hear more this year about other elements of the government’s Good Work Plan to improve the working conditions of agency workers, zero-hour workers and other atypical workers, which was published in December 2018. These include:
- changing the rules on continuity of employment, so that a break of up to four weeks between contracts will not interrupt continuity;
- banning employers from making deductions from staff tips; and
- increasing the penalty for employers’ aggravating conduct from £5,000 to £20,000 and introducing a process for publishing the names of employers who fail to pay tribunal awards on time.
We anticipate that there will be developments in the area of employment tribunal reform once the Law Commission’s consultation on the subject closes on 11 January 2019. The 53 questions asked in the consultation addressed issues such as whether the £25,000 limit for contract claims should be revised or if there should be changes to the time limits for issuing claims.
And then there is of course Brexit, but predictions of how employment law will be affected are almost impossible until we know the final terms on which the UK will leave the EU. So, as has been the case for some time regarding this subject, we will just have to watch this space…
The contents of this update are intended as guidance for readers. It can be no substitute for specific advice. Consequently we cannot accept responsibility for this information, errors or matters affected by subsequent changes in the law, or the content of any website referred to in this update.