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Good Work Plan- Employment Law Update

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Selena Baker, Associate Director of Greenaway Scott, summarises how employment law is being updated and needs to be enacted despite the current situation.

Although these changes have been hailed as the biggest change to employment law for the last 20 years, due to the ongoing pandemic, the changes have gone to the bottom of the list for employers. However, these changes are still very relevant for employers who need to continue to recruit during these difficult times. But what are the changes and how do they effect employers?

What are the changes?

Essentially, you will need to provide new employees and workers with updated employment particulars that reflect the amended legislation, as explained below. There are also several legislative changes relating to holiday pay and bereavement leave. From the 6th of April 2020, the entitlement to a statement of written particulars will extend to include workers as well as employees. In addition, this entitlement will be a day one right meaning that they are entitled to it on the first day of their employment rather than within two months as was the position previously. The information that is included in the statement (ordinarily in the form of a contract of employment) is also being expanded – for all new workers and employees on or after the 6th April 2020 you must also provide:

  • The days of the week the worker is required to work.
  • Whether their working hours are variable and how any variations will be determined.
  • Details of all remuneration and benefits.
  • 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
  • You must also refer within the statement to:
  • Any paid leave to which the worker is entitled.
  • Any non-compulsory training entitlement which the employee does not have to pay for.

After 6th of April current employees can request this information at any time up to three months after the end of their employment and they must be provided with this information within one month of the request. However, it is not a requirement to provide employees who began employment before the 6th of April with the information – it is up to the employees to request it.

Are there any other key changes?

Holiday Pay

The reference period for determining an average week’s pay will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, or if the worker has been employed for less than 52 weeks, the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been engaged. This will ensure that workers who do not have a regular working pattern throughout the year are not disadvantaged by having to take their holiday at a quiet time of the year when their weekly pay might be lower.

Parental Bereavement Leave

This leave will entitle employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy, to two weeks’ unpaid leave, as a right from day one of their employment. The information contained in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Our employment team are offering a free ‘health check’ of your current employment contracts in order to advise you whether your current contracts are in line with the updated legislation. Of course, we are happy to assist you with making amendments and providing you with updated employment templates for which we can provide you with a fixed fee. Contact our employment & HR team at [email protected] or call us on 029 2009 5500.