With the news being dominated by coronavirus, it’s easy to overlook important changes to employment law which come into force on 6 April.

Here are the headlines. If you need more detail, or advice on how your business will be affected, do email me: rachel.clayfield@carbonlawpartners.com

  • All new employees and workers will have the right to a written statement of particulars from their first day of employment. At the moment employers have two months to provide this document. This means businesses will have to prepare the document as part of the recruitment phase and can no longer wait until the worker has stared.
  • Changes to IR35 rules for the private sector – the IR35 rules apply where an individual personally performs services for another person (the client), through an intermediary (usually a personal service company or PSC). Currently, if the individual would be regarded as an employee of the client if the services were provided under a direct contract, the PSC is responsible for deciding whether IR35 applies.  From 6 April, medium and large businesses will have to make this determination and the client will be responsible for accounting for tax and national insurance. Medium and large businesses therefore need to assess whether IR35 will apply to any of their independent contractors.
  • Holiday pay reference period – if you have workers with variable hours and different rates of pay it can be difficult to calculate their holiday pay. At the moment employers look back at the last 12 weeks to calculate the average weekly pay. From 6 April this reference period will be extended to 52 weeks.
  • New parental bereavement law is expected to come into force in April.  This will give bereaved parents the right to two weeks of leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Bereaved parents who have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay.  
  • Removal of the ‘Swedish derogation’ - after 12 weeks service in the same role, agency workers are entitled to receive the same pay and basic working conditions as direct recruits. However, there is an exception if they are employed under a permanent contract of employment with the temporary work agency and are paid by the agency for periods between assignments. This arrangement, known as the Swedish derogation, is to be removed, giving all agency workers the same equal pay rights.  At the same time, all agency work-seekers must be provided with a key facts statement setting out the terms under which they will undertake the work.

Good luck with dealing with all this and the coronavirus......