In light of the coronavirus outbreak, employers may be forgiven for forgetting about some key changes that are happening this month. Andrew Willis, senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department at Croner outlines the main changes that employers can be reminded of.

Parental bereavement leave

In January, the Government confirmed the date that parental bereavement leave would be introduced as 6 April 2020.

This new leave applies to all parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy and will allow them to take up to two weeks of leave. Bereaved parents will have 56 weeks from the date of the death in which to take their leave, which can be taken in blocks of one or two weeks.

For employees who have worked at a company for 26 weeks or over, they may also be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay. This will be £151.20 per week from April 2020.

Agency workers

Agency workers are to receive a number of additional rights from 6 April 2020, including a Key Information Document setting out the terms they can expect to apply to their assignment.

Agency workers have the legal right to receive equal pay, and treatment, to full-time employees after they have been assigned to an end-user (the company they are currently working for) for 12 weeks. However, under Swedish derogation arrangements, they are not able to receive this right as the agency pays them between assignments.

From April, Swedish derogation contracts must cease to exist from 6 April 2020. Any workers who are currently on them will also need to be provided with a written statement by no later than 30 April 2020 confirming this.

Holiday pay reference periods

Calculating holiday pay for flexible workers, or those who work differing hours from week to week, can be difficult. Up until now, the rule was to take their average weekly earnings over the previous 12 weeks and pay time off in accordance with this.

From 6 April, this is to be extended to 52 weeks and the idea is to make the process fairer and ensure that workers in this position are getting their full entitlement to holiday pay.

Contracts (SMTs)

Currently, every employee reserves the right to receive a statement of written particulars within two months of starting their employment. This gives them key information regarding their role, such as pay, hours, holiday entitlements, etc.

From 6 April 2020, each employee must be given this on day one of their employment. Individuals classed as workers will also have the right to receive a written statement outlining the same information.

2020 going forward

With the coronavirus being the hot topic at the moment, it remains to be seen what further changes we will see as the year goes on. A big area that was expected to dominate headlines was Brexit, and currently there are no plans to extend the current transitional period past the 31 December date. However, this could also be subject to change going forward following the current pandemic.

Last reviewed 1 April 2020