Businesses need to ensure they are ready for updates to employment law that come into force in April. The government published its Good Work Plan in December 2018, with the aim of bringing employment practice in line with the changing world of work. More specifically, it aims to tackle the grey areas and blurred boundaries of employment status that is often leveraged by employers within the Gig Economy.
“The prevailing aim of the Plan is to erase this ambiguity that employers are able to exploit and ensure that all workers are provided with a fair and decent professional environment,” explains Deval Patel, a Partner at Gerald Edelman.
“Part of the Plan comes into force on 6th April, so now is the time for businesses to start planning to ensure compliance with these changes to legislation.”
Currently, an employer has 56 days to provide a new worker or employee with their Terms of Employment. However, from April 2020 this will change, and the employer will have to provide this on, or before the worker’s/employee’s first day of work. Additionally, it is important to note that this will extend to workers, not just employees.
In addition, information provided within the Terms of Employment will be updated and must include:
• details of any probationary period, including its duration and any conditions that apply (such as a shorter notice period) during the probation;
• details of all paid leave, including details of pay for any form of family leave;
• training entitlements and details of compulsory training, including whether the employer will pay for it;
• details of all benefits provided, be they contractual or non-contractual;
• terms relating to any work the worker will be required to complete outside the UK for periods of more than one month.
“An important point to note is that the revised Terms of Employment now needs a higher level of detail and removes the scope to rely on supplementary documents such as a handbook,” explains Patel.
The reference period for calculating average weekly pay will also change from 12 to 52 weeks. The reasoning for this is so staff are not disadvantaged if they take holiday during quieter times.
The time required to rely on a break of service is being extended from one week to four weeks. The purpose of this update is to deter employers from abusing the system by dismissing employees and then almost immediately re-engaging them to “reset the clock” on their employment rights and avoid accusations of unfair dismissal. You must be employed for a requisite qualifying period in order to file for unfair dismissal – two years if you started your job after 6 April 2012, one year if you started you job before 6 April 2012.
After 26 weeks of service, employees and workers will be able to request a fixed working pattern if they are dissatisfied with their current ad-hoc arrangement.
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