This month a number of new or revised provisions are to be introduced. It is important employers are aware of the new provisions.
These changes are being introduced under the “Good Work Plan”. This plan covers when a contract (or written statement of terms) should be provided to an employee, how to calculate holiday pay, protections for agency workers and enhanced parental bereavement leave.
Day one rights
Under the current law, an employee who has been employed for more than one month is entitled to be issued with a written statement of terms.
The details of what is required are set out in Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The written statement should include but not limited to particulars of the name of the employer, the dates of employment, the rate of pay, holiday entitlement, working hours, notice periods, job titles and place of work.
Under the Good Work Plan employers are still required to issue the statement of terms as set out in section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 however the employee will now be entitled to this on day one of their employment. It would be wise therefore the statement is prepared well in advance of an employee commencing work.
Holiday Pay Calculation Period
Under the current provisions when calculating the holiday pay for a worker who does not work regular hours an average is used. An employer would have to take the average hours worked over the previous 12 weeks. This 12 week period is referred to as a pay reference period.
The Good Work Plan will introduce a new pay reference period. Employers need to be aware of this when calculating holiday pay. Employers will now need to take an average of hours worked over a 52 weeks period or for the full length of employment if less than 52 weeks. This is most likely to affect those who are in seasonal work or casual workers with a zero-hour contract.
The Good Work Plan seeks to bring in further protections for agency workers. One way in which the Good Work Plan does this introduces an entitlement to a “key facts page” which will set out basic information about the contract including working hours and pay rates. Not dissimilar to an employee’s written statement of terms.
As well as the key facts page the Good Work Plan will introduce new pay protections. Under the current law, agency workers are entitled to receive the same pay and working conditions as actual employees once they have been working for 12 continuous weeks in the same role.
There is however currently an exemption from the called “Swedish derogation”. This exemption applies where an agency worker is paid by the agency for periods of time between assignments.
Under the Good Work Plan, the “Swedish derogation” exemption will be removed and any agency work that completes a 12 week qualifying period will be entitled to equal pay to direct recruits.
The Good Work Plan is also due to introduce new law (The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018). This will give parents the entitlement to two weeks of leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth that occurs after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Prior to the Good Work Plan, there has been no legal obligation for employers to provide any paid time off for grieving parents. There is an entitlement for employees to take reasonable time off to deal with an emergency however this is unpaid time.
The new entitlement applies to parents and those with parental responsibility such as adopters or foster parents. This is a day one right and does not require any qualifying length of service.
David Philip Harris is a recognised employment solicitor with over 10 years of experience in advising employees and employers on employment law matters. He is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio Berkshire and People Management Magazine. David has represented individual and corporate clients in the employment tribunal as well as the High Court and County Court. David is a member of The Law Society and The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA UK). To contact David, visit the Contact Us page. For media enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.