Each April, employers must ensure that their organisation complies with the latest round of amended employment laws and deadlines. As well as dealing with the ongoing impact of coronavirus (Covid-19), important issues in April 2020 include:
Changes to written statements of terms and conditions
From 6 April 2020, the requirement to provide a written statement of terms and conditions extends to workers, not just employees. This includes casual and zero hours workers.
The right to a statement no longer requires a minimum length of service and applies from the worker’s first day working for the organisation.
There are also changes to the information that the written statement must include.
New rights to parental bereavement leave and pay
Bereaved parents of a child who dies on or after 6 April 2020 have a new right to take up to two weeks’ parental bereavement leave with pay at a statutory minimum rate.
The right, sometimes referred to as “Jack’s Law”, also applies to stillbirths occurring after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Employers should review their organisation’s policies and procedures now to ensure that they include time off for bereaved parents. Organisations will need to communicate these policy changes as soon as possible, ideally by 3 April 2020.
New holiday pay calculations for workers with irregular hours
On 6 April 2020, the holiday pay reference period for workers without normal working hours increases from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
Employers will need to adjust how they calculate holiday pay for workers with irregular hours, for example those in seasonal or atypical roles. Your organisation’s holiday policy may also require adjusting if it refers to the holiday pay reference period.
Employers should also check the contracts of employment of workers with irregular working hours to ensure that, where the reference period is mentioned, it is updated with the new period.
Increases to the National Minimum Wage
The national living wage for workers aged 25 and over increases to £8.72 per hour on 1 April 2020.
Other national minimum wage rates also increase on 1 April 2020, with hourly rates rising to £8.20 for workers aged 21 to 24, to £6.45 for workers aged 18 to 20 and to £4.55 for workers aged 16 or 17.
Increased rates for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave
The weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increases to £151.20 from 5 April 2020.
It is up to employers to make sure that staff on maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental leave and sick leave are paid these statutory minimum rates.
Increased rates for statutory sick pay
The weekly rate of statutory sick pay increases to £95.85 from 6 April 2020.
In the wake of coronavirus (Covid-19), the Government has announced that it will introduce measures requiring employers to pay statutory sick pay from the first day of an employee’s sickness, rather than after three waiting days.
Changes to the unfair dismissal award
The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £86,444 to £88,519 for dismissals that take place on or after 6 April 2020.
Increase in statutory redundancy pay
New limits on employment statutory redundancy pay come into force on 6 April 2020.
Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age. The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount. This amount is £538 from 6 April 2020.
Larger employers with 250 or more employees should also be working on their third gender pay gap report.
Meanwhile, the Government has confirmed that the extension of IR35 tax rules to private-sector employers will be delayed until 6 April 2021.