News & Updates

April 2020 HR & Employment Law changes

April 2020 will see many significant changes to employment law legislation. We have previously circulated individual articles on these changes, but here, Daniel Bunce, our HR Assistant, explains the key changes you need to be aware of, including updates about The Good Work Plan, National Minimum Wage and Parental Bereavement Leave. (NB This information is still relevant at the time of writing, but things may change due to the current pandemic, but we will keep you informed. Please also keep checking our dedicated Coronavirus page on for daily updates and useful documents).

As ever, should you need any support or advice about any of the issues raised in this newsletter, please don’t hesitate to contact your designated advisor – we continue to be #oneoftheteam

Good Work Plan

From the beginning of April, elements of the governments Good Work Plan will be introduced. With this comes several changes to Employment Law… 

Right to written statement of main terms and conditions
As of 6 April 2020, there is a legal obligation for contracts of employment to be given on or before day one of employment. This requirement also extends to all bank staff and casual staff, not just permanent employees. 

The government are also expecting to see an increased level of detail in employment contracts including: 

  • How long the role is expected to last, for example if this was a fixed term role.
  • Eligibility to sick pay.
  • Confirmation of probationary period and notice details. 
  • Details of any training requirements or entitlements.
  • Details of all other leave entitlement, for example maternity leave or paternity leave.
  • All other remuneration and benefits. 
  • Normal working hours, the days of the week the worker is required to work and any variation. 

It is essential that you review your employment contracts to ensure that your documentation complies with the new rules. If you need any assistance reviewing and updating your documentation, please contact your designated HR Advisor. 

Holiday Pay  
Currently, when calculating holiday pay for employees who regularly work overtime or receive bonuses, commission etc, companies are required to use a 12-week reference period. From 6th April, this will increase to a 52-week referencing period.

If a worker hasn’t worked for a continuous 52-week period, calculations should be based on the number of weeks they have been employed. 

Agency Workers
Currently agency workers can exchange their right to be paid equally to permanent counterparts in return for a contract guaranteeing pay between assignments. This is known as the Swedish Derogation. From 6 April 2020these provisions will be removed.

In addition, agency workers will now be entitled to receive specific information covering their pay, type of contract, holiday entitlement and who is responsible for their employment. It is the responsibility of the relevant agency to provide the worker with this information.  

Changes to IR35
At present, the IR35 rules apply when an individual performs services for a company, through an intermediary, where the services are provided under a direct contract. For tax purposes the individual is regarded as being employed by the company and it is the intermediary’s responsibility to determine whether IR35 applies or not. 

Originally, changes to this legislation were set to come in April 2020, however, the government is postponing the reforms from 6 April 2020 to 6 April 2021. This delay is due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From April 2021, the IR35 rules will be applied to medium and large business in the private sector. The onus will shift to the client to determine whether the IR35 rules apply or not. 

Break in Service
Currently a working break of one week is enough to constitute a break in continuity of service. From April, that break in service will increase from one week to four weeks.

National Minimum Wage

From April 2020 the new rates are:

  • The National Living Wage for ages 25 and above rises by 6.2% to £8.72
  • The National Minimum Wage for 21 to 24 year olds rises by 6.5% to £8.20
  • For 18 to 20 year olds, a rise of 4.9% to £6.45
  • For under 18s, a rise of 4.6% to £4.55
  • For apprentices, a rise of 6.4% to £4.15

It’s important to remember that although these rates take effect from the beginning of April, workers will only be entitled to this increase when their pay reference period starts, e.g. if a monthly paid worker is paid on the 10th April, they would be entitled to receive their new increased rate from the 11th April.

Parental Bereavement Leave

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act means that as of April, employees who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 are automatically entitled to Parental Bereavement Leave.   

Parents or carers who have been employed for 26 continuous weeks or more prior to the child’s death, and who have received the lower earnings limit for the previous eight weeks, will receive a right to two weeks leave at a statutory rate of pay. 

Workers who have not been employed for a continuous period of 26 weeks are entitled to two weeks unpaid leave. 

The two weeks leave can either be taken in one block or as two separate blocks of one week each. Furthermore, this must be taken within 56 weeks of the date of the child’s death. This allows for any difficult events such as birthdays or anniversaries. 

Notice for Parental Bereavement leave is flexible and can be taken on short notice.