Most employers will have more pressing matters to deal with at the moment – however it is important that organisations don’t let the implementation of the Government’s Good Work Plan on 6 April 2020 pass them by. The Good Work Plan was labelled as the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years. Below is a summary of the key proposals and subsequent actions which employers should be aware of.
Key Proposals of the Good Work Plan:
Extension of the Right to a Written Statement of Particulars of Employment
The previous position was that a written statement of particulars has to be provided to employees within two months of their start date.
Under new legislation the right to a written statement, setting out the basic terms of employment for all employees whose employment lasts for at least one month, will apply from day one, and now includes workers. In addition to the current requirement to provide particulars, as detailed out in s.1 of the Employment Rights Act, the written statement must now also set out:
- The days of the week the worker is required to work, whether these are variable and how any variations will be determined;
- Any entitled to paid leave (e.g. maternity, adoption, parental bereavement etc.);
- Details of all remuneration and other benefits (i.e. those which have some kind of economic value);
- Any probationary period;
- Any training entitlement provided by the employer, including whether any training is mandatory and / or must be paid for by the worker.
Holiday Pay Calculations
The pay reference period for calculating the holiday pay of a worker who has irregular working hours was increased from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
The change aims to prevent workers losing out where their working hours are subject to fluctuations such as seasonal variations, or peaks in overtime. If a worker has been working for less than 52 weeks, their holiday pay calculation should be based on the total number of weeks they have worked.
Increased Protection for Agency Workers
Agency workers have the right to be provided with a ‘Key Facts Page’ which will need to include information on the type of contract, their rate of pay, who is responsible for paying it, and any deductions or fees that will be taken.
There is also an end to ‘Swedish derogation’ – this used to allow workers who have a contract that provides for a minimum level of pay between assignments to be excluded from the right to comparable pay with permanent employees. Therefore, after 12 weeks of service, an agency worker will be entitled to receive the same level of pay as a permanent worker.
Enforcement of Tribunal Awards and Increasing Tribunal Fines for Employers
The government will:
- Introduce a new “naming and shaming” scheme for employers that fail to pay tribunal awards and make it easier for successful claimants to enforce payment.
- Require tribunals to consider stronger punishments for employers that ignore previous tribunal judgments against them.
As well as the above, the government have already increased the maximum penalty from £5,000 to £20,000 for ‘aggravated’ breaches of employment rights. This came into effect on 6 April 2019.
Tips and Gratuities
Rules will be implemented to ensure that tips are passed directly to the individual, rather than taken by the employer.