5 more employment changes coming in April

April will see a series of employment law changes become effective. We’ve already given advice on how to prepare for the two most significant: the extension of off payroll working rules to the private sector and the new written requirements for new starters. Here, David Sheppard and Garyn Young summarise five other changes coming up next month.

Read our blog on the extension of off payroll working rules to the private sector here, and that on the new written requirements for new starters here

Jack’s Law – parental bereavement leave

Losing a child is shattering. Jack’s Law will entitle parents who have lost a child under the age of 18, or whose baby is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy, to a statutory minimum of two weeks’ paid leave at a minimum rate of £151 per week. This is a world’s first.

This of course is a minimum statutory entitlement. Employers should talk to their employees about their loss and what other leave they need to take beyond the two weeks, to support them as they cope with their bereavement.

This new statutory right will apply to deaths or stillbirths occurring on or after 6 April 2020 and is a day one right available to employees only, thereby excluding workers and self-employed contractors.

Holiday pay

The main change is that from 6 April 2020, the reference period for determining an average week’s pay will be increased from 12 to 52 weeks. The 52-week reference period will apply to all calculations of statutory holiday pay in which the 12-week reference period is currently used. If an employee has not worked 52 weeks, employers should use however many complete weeks the employee has worked as the reference period.

Another change is to do with the limitation period for this calculation. For workers working irregular hours, employers are still expected to disregard weeks where no remuneration was paid, but they now will lose the ability to go as far back as is necessary to collect that data.

From the 6 April 2020, there will be a 104-week limitation on how far back an employer can look. Therefore, for a worker working irregular hours, the reference period will be shortened to however many paid weeks work that are available to them within the 104-week limitation.

Statutory sick pay and family pay

From 6 April 2020, statutory pay will increase from £94.25 a week to £95.85.

In addition, family leave statutory rates, such as that for maternity leave and paternity leave, will increase on 7 April 2020 from £145.68 per week to £151.20

Abolition of the Swedish derogation and “key information documents”

The Swedish derogation allowed agency workers to give up the right to pay parity with permanent staff in return for a guarantee to receive pay between assigned jobs.

From 6 April 2020, all agency workers will be entitled to pay parity with their permanent counterparts. Temporary worker agencies will now have until 30 April 2020 to inform their workers engaged on contracts inclusive of the Swedish derogation that this provision no longer applies.

As from 6 April, agency workers will also have the right to receive before receiving any contract with the agency a “key information document” summarising the key terms and features of their agency work and assignments.

Tax on termination payments

Currently, any termination payment in excess of £30,000 is subject to income tax only.

From 6 April 2020, any termination payment in excess of £30,000 which is chargeable to income tax will also attract a Class 1A NIC charge at a rate of 13.8% on the balance above £30,000, which is an employer only national insurance contribution. Termination payments will remain fully exempt from employee national insurance deductions.