In December 2018 the Government published their Good Work Plan, which has been described as ‘the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years’.
This plan will result in a full review of the UK labour market and as such, it is likely that we will soon see changes implemented to increase the rights and benefits offered to all workers.
What we know will change in April 2020…
1. Increased holiday pay reference periods
The reference period for determining holiday pay will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. This change aims to give workers the incentive to spread their annual leave out across the year, rather than take it all after a peak period of overtime for example.
2. More detailed statement of written terms and conditions
Currently employees are entitled to receive a copy of their terms and conditions of employment within 8 weeks of their start date. This is set to become a day one right. Written statements of terms will need to be given on or before the first day of employment, not only for employees but also for workers.
Statements of terms must also include:
• How long a job is expected to last, or the end date of a fixed-term contract;
• How much notice an employer and worker are required to give to terminate the agreement;
• Details of eligibility for sick leave and pay;
• Details of other types of paid leave e.g. maternity leave and paternity leave;
• The duration and conditions of any probationary period;
• All remuneration (not just pay) – contributions in cash or kind e.g. vouchers and lunch;
• Which specific days and times workers are required to work.
This is in addition to the current mandatory information that must be provided in a written statement. This can be found at www.gov.uk/employment-contractsand-conditions/written-statementof-employment-particulars.
Other recommendations and potential future changes…
The right to request a more stable contract
The intention is that workers with 26 weeks’ service or more will be able to ask for greater certainty in terms of the hours they work. It will be a right of request, to be considered by the employer with no guarantee that it will be granted. The presumption is that it will work in the same way as flexible working requests.
Those who are content to work varied hours each week will be able to continue. However, those who would like more certainty will be able to request a more fixed working pattern from their employer after 26 weeks of service.
The time required to break continuous service may increase
Currently, those who work intermittently for the same employer can find it difficult to gain employment rights because they struggle to build up continuous service. Currently, a gap of one week in employment with the same employer can break what counts towards continuous service. To reflect the changing world of work the government have suggested they will legislate to extend this break to four weeks, allowing more employees to gain access to employment rights.
For those who engage seasonal or casual workers, this change will be one to keep an eye on because in theory it will mean that workers could gain access to employment law rights more easily.
Banning employers from making deductions from staff tips
Tips, gratuities and service charges can be a significant part of staff income. Tips are also part of how consumers recognise and reward good service. Whilst most employers already pass on tips to the staff who earn them, a minority of employers exploit their staff by retaining the tips they earn.
As a result, the Government will legislate to ban employers from making deductions from staff tips.
A review of the employment tribunal
The Good Work Plan wishes to address issues of individuals who struggle to receive their Employment Tribunal reward from the employer. There is currently a BEIS penalty scheme in place to monitor this, which has issued over 1000 warning notices since its introduction in 2016 and recovered over £1.5m owed to workers who may not have otherwise received payment. However, it is felt that employers must also face consequences for avoiding paying what is owed. There is suggestion that the government may therefore name employers that are not paying their Employment Tribunal awards on a publicised list.
We will be keeping you updated on the Good Work Plan over the coming months although if you would like any further advice please do not hesitate to contact our team here.