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How to... get on top of HR legal changes in 2020

16 January 2020

New year, new laws. Katee Dias breaks down some of the policies you'll need to get to grips with in 2020

January is the traditional time for resolving to do things differently, and this year there is going to be a lot of change in the world of employment law with which HR professionals will need to keep up. With many new legal rules afoot, we look at some of the main changes and what you need to resolve to do for your workplace.

Contracts of employment

With hospitality being a people-heavy sector often with a high turnover of staff, issuing contracts of employment may be the mainstay for many HR personnel. However, that familiar territory is changing with effect from 6 April 2020 as:

  • Additional prescribed details will need to be included (for example, any training entitlements, benefits and paid leave);
  • Existing contractual provisions may need further detail added (such as hours of work, especially where those hours vary);
  • The contract will need to be given to the employee before their employment starts or at the latest on their first day;
  • All employees (even those with less than one month of service) will need to be provided with a contract.
  • New Year resolution Update your template contract of employment in readiness.

Contracts for workers

Also from 6 April 2020, there will be a requirement for workers to be given written particulars of their engagement. This is an entirely new legal right and one that HR professionals must get on top of soon as, like employees, the document must be given no later than the first day of work. The first step will be to identify if the organisation will have any ‘workers' (which is an employment category that sits inbetween that of an ‘employee' and ‘self-employed').

Depending on the circumstances, this can be a difficult exercise in itself. Assuming it is relevant, HR professionals will then need to grapple with creating a good template contract. The prescribed information is identical to that which must be contained in an employment contract, but some of these elements do not fit well in the ‘worker' scenario. By way of example, you would not normally expect a worker to be subject to disciplinary and grievance procedures, but yet you will be required to specify who the worker should contact if they wish to raise a grievance or appeal a disciplinary decision.

Careful thought will need to be given as to how to deal with this, as you do not inadvertently want to suggest that the individual is an employee, rather than a worker.

New Year resolution Identify if you have workers and, if so, create a template contract.

Holiday pay

The hospitality sector has a lot of flexible work patterns, which can mean holiday pay can vary greatly. Currently, you look back over the last 12 weeks of work to calculate the rate of pay, but this will be extended to 52 weeks from 6 April 2020 (or the number of complete weeks worked if they have less than 52 weeks service).

New Year resolution Make sure payroll get to grips with the new reference period.

Other changes

April 2020 will bring lots of other employment law reforms too, from the requirement for a key facts information document to be given to each agency worker to changes to the tax rules concerning termination payments.

New Year resolution Ensure that you are aware of all of the changes coming into force.

More possible changes on the horizon

As well as the above, there is talk of many other reforms, including greater protection for those returning from family leave, the right to request a stable and more fixed working pattern (which may impact greatly on some in the hospitality sector, as many employers have a bank of casuals or zero-hour workers from which they can draw in peak times) and a ban on the employer making deductions from tips.

New Year resolution Keep reading employment law updates.

Katee Dias is an employment law solicitor at Goodman Derrick LLP www.gdlaw.co.uk

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