The Good Work Plan: Key changes in employment law coming soon
The Good Work Plan has been dubbed as ‘the biggest overhaul in employment law for 20 years’.
Several reforms under the Good Work Plan are due to come into effect in April 2020 which will bring new obligations for employers. Since the initial Plan was published, further changes have also been proposed.
Our employment law partner, Croner provide a rundown of the changes that could most affect your practices.
For further guidance on the Good Work Plan, or wider HR support, call our dedicated member support line on 0844 561 8133 and quote the DBA scheme number which can be found here.
Written contracts of employment
The plan introduces several changes to the right to receive a written statement of main terms (SMT) with effect from 6 April 2020. This document includes all the employee’s key terms of employment including pay and annual leave entitlement and employers currently have two months to provide it to a new employee. This grace period will be removed meaning the SMT will have to be given to the employee no later than the commencement of employment.
In addition, more details will have to be included in the SMT, as follows:
- duration of and conditions attached to the probationary period
- all paid leave entitlements
- all benefits the employee receives
- an employee’s training entitlement
- the days of the week the employee is required to work on and whether normal working hours are variable or not. If they are variable, information must be included on how they vary or what determines the variation.
Significantly, employers will have to provide an SMT to their ‘workers’, as well as their employees. Currently, only employees are entitled to receive this document, but workers including zero hours workers and casual workers will also be brought within scope.
The mandatory reference period for calculating holiday pay will increase under the plan. From 6 April 2020, employers will have to use a reference period of 52 weeks, instead of the current 12 weeks, when calculating holiday pay for staff whose pay varies, including the zero hours workforce. This calculation method will result in a payment which balances out any peaks and troughs of working hours throughout the year.
‘Swedish derogation model’ contracts for agency workers will be banned from 6 April 2020. These contracts currently offer a legal loophole to avoid the requirement to pay agency workers the same basic pay as direct recruits at the hirer organisation after 12 weeks on assignment. Those who are currently engaged on these contracts will be entitled to a statement to explain the effect of the ban on their pay. As a separate measure, all agency workers will be entitled to a key facts sheet explaining details on their pay etc.
The Government has confirmed that the current employment status structure will be reviewed, meaning that the tests used to determine who is an employee, worker or self-employed will be adjusted. The results of this are likely to be that many self-employed individuals will be re-classified as workers.
Extra rights for unstable hours workers
Another key change is the introduction of the right for workers who do not have stable and predictable hours to switch to a more stable contract which reflects the normal hours worked. Employers would be required to justify any refusal to switch according to legislative conditions. Other proposals include a right to reasonable notice of shifts to be worked, and a right to compensation for cancelled shifts.
More rights for those faced with redundancy
Pregnant women, and those within 6 months of a return from family leave, will be given the same protection as women on maternity leave when faced with redundancy. Women on maternity leave must be offered an alternative role in favour of other employees. This will extend the length of current protection for women having a baby, and will also bring fathers, mother’s partners and adopters within scope.
Proposals to support families
A new right to neo-natal leave may be introduced for parents whose new born baby needs to stay in hospital to receive care. This measure would see maternity and paternity leave extended by a week for each week the baby is in hospital over 2 weeks, and up to a pre-determined maximum. Large employers may be forced to publically publish their family leave and flexible working policies. In addition, all employers may be put under a duty to consider whether a job can be done flexibly and make it clear when advertising for the role.
Support and guidance
The Good Work Plan has been dubbed as ‘the biggest overhaul in employment law for 20 years’. With so many significant changes approaching, it’s clear to see why.
We urge members to start preparing for these changes now to ensure compliance and reduce risk. Our support helpline for DBA members can help you to navigate these imminent developments and will provide pragmatic advice tailored to your business.
Call 0844 561 8133 to speak with an advisor today and quote the DBA scheme number.
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