Given the unprecedented actions recently taken by the Chancellor in relation to Covid-19 such as the furlough scheme it would be easy to forget that there are other important employment Law changes that came into effect on the 6th of April 2020. The following is a summary of these changes:

Points Based Immigration System

From 1 January 2021, free movement of people within the EU will end and the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system.

The Home Office has issued The UK’s points-based immigration system: an introduction for employers. It contains guidance on the proposed points-based immigration system, which assigns points for specific skills, qualifications, salaries and shortage occupations. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.

Contracts of Employment

From 6 April 2020 employers must provide all workers with a statement setting out their main terms and conditions of employment – not just employees as was the case. This includes casual and zero-hours workers.

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 Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 (also referred to as “Jack’s Law”) provides for at least two weeks’ leave for employees following the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to two weeks of paid leave at the statutory rate and other employees will be entitled to unpaid leave.

Adjustments to holiday pay calculations for workers with irregular

The holiday pay reference period for workers without normal working hours increases from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.

Qualifying agency workers to receive equal pay

An employer’s ability to pay agency workers less than their own workers in certain circumstances – also known as the “Swedish derogation” – has been abolished.

Agency workers could previously exchange their right to be paid the same as directly recruited employees for a contract guaranteeing pay between assignments.

Increases to Statutory payments

The weekly rate of Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increases to £151.20 from Sunday 5 April 2020.

The weekly rate of SSP increases to £95.85 from 6 April 2020.

Dismissals for redundancy of employees with at least two years’ service qualify for a statutory amount, based on their length of service, age and weekly pay subject to a maximum amount; from 6 April 2020 this amount is £538.

Compensation for unfair dismissals that take place on or after 6 April 2020 rises to a maximum of £88,519.

Changes to Minimum Wage rates:

The National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over increases to £8.72 per hour.

The National Minimum Wage hourly rate increases:

  • 21 to 24 year olds £8.20
  • 18 to 20 year olds £6.45
  • 16 or 17 year olds £4.55
  • Apprentices £4.15

Legislation delayed due to the Coronavirus outbreak:

  1. Gender pay gap reporting
  2. IR35M

The government has confirmed that the extension of the IR35 tax rules to private-sector employers will be delayed until 6 April 2021.