Employment law reforms, are you prepared?

Following a review of working practices in the UK in 2018, the government has announced a series of employment law changes which will come into force by April 2020. It claims this is one of the biggest reforms of Employment Law  in 20 years!

Some of the key changes include:

  • The reference period for calculating holiday pay for an employee with variable hours will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks
  • A written statement of employment particulars must be given on the first day of employment; there will be no 2 month leeway in place as there is now
  • A written statement must be given to all workers, not just employees
  • The maximum level of penalty for an employer’s aggravating conduct will increase from £5,000 to £20,000
  • The percentage of the workforce required to request an employer to provide information and consultation about issues relating to the company, e.g. financial information, will be lowered from 10% to 2%

The government also announced further proposed employment law changes which have not yet been finalised but will be something for businesses to look out for. Some key proposals were:

  • A right for workers to request a fixed working pattern if they do not have one, for example, zero hour workers
  • Putting in place laws to prevent employers mislabelling employees/workers as self-employed (as has been demonstrated in several high profile cases over the last few years such as the Uber case)
  • A ban on employers making deductions from staff tips
  • Changing the rules on continuity of employment, so a break of up to 4 weeks between contracts will not break continuity if the employee leaves and returns back to work, which will allow their employment rights to continue. The current position is that a break of 1 week will break continuity

Is your business ready for these Employment Law changes?

Given the potential changes in relation to zero hour workers and staff tips, the hospitality sector could potentially be hit hardest as this is common practice in this industry.

Any businesses who regularly contracts work out to ‘self-employed’ individuals will also need to keep an eye out for further details to ensure that these individuals are genuinely self-employed in the eyes of the law. If they are held to be workers or employees, they could be entitled to rights such as paid annual leave and national minimum wage, which would be an additional cost to your business.

Contact an Employment Law consultant on jrmnewbiz@jelf.com to find out how your business is affected and the steps we can take to help you prepare for these changes.