Welcome all to the March edition of the AdviserPlus newsletter.
In this month’s newsletter we will be focussing on three important areas for your business to consider:
- How to tackle Coronavirus
- The Good Work Plan, which is dubbed the biggest recent shakeup of UK employment law and sees the first changes introduced next month, and;
- The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018, which comes into force on 6 April 2020.
We also summarise two recent case law findings on unfair dismissal.
As the number of cases of Coronavirus and affected countries continues to grow, it is important that your business is prepared to support your employees and help prevent the spread of the disease.
Here are 5 important tips for your business:
- Review the Government guidance. You can gain access to the most recent up to date guidance (and a list of the impacted countries) via this link
- If you suspect an employee may have been infected, or potentially exposed to Coronavirus,
- recommend that they self-isolate for 14-days in line with Government guidance
- If an employee does have to self-isolate, consider alternative options to allow them to continue to work, such as home working
- If an employee has Coronavirus, or if they are told to self-isolate by their doctor or NHS 111, your usual sick leave and entitlements apply. If your business pays Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) the Government has announced that to help contain Coronavirus employees will be paid SSP from day one. At the time of writing this we are waiting for emergency legislation to be introduced to make this change. There is no statutory right to payment if someone self-isolates without being advised by their doctor or NHS 111, however careful consideration should be given to paying SSP/company sick pay to reduce the risk of an employee returning to work against government advice due to pay concerns
- If an employee refuses to attend work due to concerns over Coronavirus, listen to their concerns and if appropriate you may want to consider unpaid leave or holidays. However you do not have to agree to this and if an employee still refuses to attend work, this may be deemed a disciplinary matter.
NB. The above guidance was correct at the time of writing this article (on 5 March) however, you need to be fluid in your approach to Coronavirus as the policy and government guidance is changing rapidly. We therefore recommend you regularly check the Government guidance and news for updates to the policy or contact us if you have any specific questions.
The Good Work Plan
The Good Work Plan 2018 was published in response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practises and outlines the Government’s commitment to bringing UK employment law in line with modern working and improving the quality, not just quantity of work in the UK. It is dubbed the biggest recent shakeup of UK employment law due to the number of recommendations that will be adopted.
The first changes are due to take effect from 6 April 2020 and we’ve summarised those changes below:
- Upgrade to written statement of terms and conditions – workers and employees will be entitled to a written statement of terms and conditions from day 1 of their employment. The statement must also include certain information as a minimum, such as how long the job is expected to last, or the end date.
- Abolishment of the ‘Swedish derogation’ loophole – this means agency workers can no longer opt- out of their right to the same pay as the rest of the workforce in return for guaranteed pay between assignments
- Holiday pay reference period – is increased from 12 to 52 weeks to allow for fairer calculation of pay for employees who work variable hours
- Key information sheet – employment businesses should give agency workers a Key Information Document
- Lower threshold for requests for information and consultation – the threshold for employees to request to set up information and consultation arrangements is now just 2% instead of 10%. The 15-employee minimum threshold for initiation of proceedings will remain in place.
There will be more Good Work Plan changes coming which we will continue to communicate via these newsletters. If you would like more information regarding the above or support to prepare your business for the changes, please get in touch.
Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 comes into force on 6 April 2020 and is intended to provide grieving parents the statutory right to time off following the death of a child.
We have listed five key facts about the Act to help you understand how this applies to you and your employees:
- The Act gives employees the statutory right to two weeks leave following the death of a child under 18 or a still birth after the 24th week of pregnancy
- Bereaved parent is defined by the employee’s relationship with the child and includes parents and primary carers whose relationship was parental in nature
- Leave can be taken in one- or two-week blocks
- Employees will be entitled to statutory pay if they have a minimum of 26 weeks continuous service and their pay meets the lower earnings limit
- There are no notice requirements if employees are taking immediate leave (but they will need to notify you why they are off) and for advance notice, one weeks’ notice would be reasonable.
Before the Act comes into force, we recommend you familiarise yourself with the Act, create new or update existing policies and ensure your employees with line management experience are adequately trained to deal with any requests.
For more information on the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act and next steps for your business AdviserPlus are running a webinar on 19th March which you can register for by clicking here.
If you have any questions regarding the content of this newsletter, or would like more information to support your business with the changes, please get in touch: email@example.com