The implications of the coronavirus crisis for employers has been severe on so many fronts that it’s understandable if employers might have missed some key employment law changes that have recently come into effect. Ross Pierrepont, solicitor at Tallents Solicitors in Newark summarises the key changes that employers need to know as they open up their businesses again and bring back furloughed staff.

Increase to National Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2020 the following increases came into effect:

  • for workers aged 25 – from £8.21 to £8.72 per hour
  • for workers aged 21 to 24 – from £7.70 to £8.20 per hour
  • for workers aged 18-20 – from £6.15 to £6.45 per hour
  • for workers aged 16-27 – from £4.35 to £4.55 per hour

A right to a written statement of terms

From 6 April 2020, all new employees and workers will have the right to a statement of written particulars from their first day of employment under The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018.

Employers should have already prepared for this new legislation as they will have a legal obligation to provide the employee or worker with a written statement of terms on the very first day at work which must detail normal working hours, days of the week they are required to work, any variables to working hours or days, benefits provided by the employer, and details of any probationary period. Failure to do so can result in legal action being brought by the employee and a possible award being made by an Employment Tribunal.

New compensation limits

From 6 April 2020, increased compensation limits are effective for:

  • Unfair dismissals where the effective date is on or after 6 April 2020. The maximum basic award will increase from £15,750 to £16,140 and the maximum compensatory award will increase from £86,444 to £88,519.
  • A week’s pay calculation for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal will increase from £525 to £538.
  • The statutory sick pay weekly rate increases from £94.25 to £95.85. Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay will increase from £148.68 to £151.20. 

New parental bereavement law

Bereaved parents will be entitled to two weeks’ leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18, or a still birth after 24 weeks of pregnancy after 6 April 2020.

They will be able to take their leave in one two-week block, or in two separate one-week blocks within 56 days of the date of the child’s death. Those with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be entitled to a statutory parental bereavement pay, whereas those will less that 26 weeks’ will be able to take two weeks of unpaid leave.

Holiday pay reference period adjustment

To try and even out the variation in pay for workers in seasonal positions, or who are in roles with variable rates of renumeration for the hours worked, employers will now be required to look back over 52 weeks (previously 12 weeks) to calculate the average weekly pay.

On top of dealing with the implications of the coronavirus crisis, we understand that this can be a confusing and complicated area of law for employers to stay aware of and remain compliant with. If any employers have concerns regarding the legal and regulatory areas raised in this article, then our employment law specialists at Tallents can advise and support you.