Phew, 2019 is nearly at an end! With the drama of the Election out of the way and Brexit, in some form, now looking far more certain, we can start to look at what the future holds with more certainty.

What changes to employment law do we expect to see in early 2020? Jessica Clough provides a brief overview of some of the changes to expect in the New Year:

  • Brexit – PM Boris Johnson has stated he wants the UK to leave the EU on or by 31 January 2020. His deal is “oven ready”, very much like turkeys at Christmas! If we leave with a deal, there will be a transition period during which we will still be in the single market and customs union and EU citizens will still be able to come to live and work in the UK in much the same way that they do now, currently 31 December 2020.

Changes on 6 April 2020

  • Right to receive a statement of employment particulars to be extended to all workers (not just employees). Employers will also have to provide this written statement on day one of employment, rather than (as currently) within a 2 month period.
  • Changes to IR35 will introduce strict duties on private sector businesses regarding off-payroll working. Currently these rules apply only to public sector bodies. The change will have serious potential tax implications for employers who get it wrong.
  • Changes to taxation of termination payments – termination payments made after 5 April 2020 will also be liable for deductions of employers’ NICs.
  • Agency Workers will no longer be able to opt-out of equal pay entitlements (known as the “Swedish derogation”) which currently are available after 12 weeks working in the same role with the same employer.
  • The reference period for determining a week’s pay when calculating the holiday pay of workers with irregular hours will be increased from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
  • Introduction of Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay – this will provide for parents and primary carers who have at least 26 weeks’ service with their employer to take 2 weeks’ paid leave following a stillbirth after 24 weeks, or the death of a child up to the age of 18. Leave can be taken in one block of 2 weeks, or two blocks of one week and can be taken up to 56 weeks after the death. Bereaved parents with less than 26 weeks’ service are eligible to take bereavement leave as unpaid leave. Employers are reminded to update their policies to include this type of leave.

Learning points

The IR35 changes, in particular, have the potential to cause a real headache for employers. We recommend businesses should take legal advice as soon as possible so they can understand the implications that this rule change may have on their businesses, particularly with regard to their labour supply chain, and prepare accordingly.