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Election Outcome & Changes to Employment Law

Posted On: 20/01/2020

We start 2020 with some certainties. We know Boris Johnson won the election and that his party will ‘Get Brexit doneat the end of the month. However, many questions remain unanswered with regard to the deal so now is not the time for businesses to take their foot of the Brexit’ pedal.

The Conservatives promise to deliver more family-friendly rulings to complement today’s lifestyles. These are set to please employees, but organisations must be aware of the impact these changes will have on their policies and budget planning.

Our first event of the year focusses on how to prepare your business and employees for 2020 and beyond. We’ll be co-hosting with Freeths LLP on the 12 February to discuss the implications of Brexit, the legislation changes and the impact on your workforces.

But before then, let’s have a look back at the Tory governments manifesto and see what changes lie ahead.

Immigration

The question of immigration is top of the list for many organisations throughout the UK who continue to struggle to find staff, as less EU workers are considering moving here to work.

The Conservative’s manifesto states that they will introduce a point’s based immigration system, similar in style to that of Australia’s.

Points will be assigned to individuals based on their level of education, their skill sets and work experience. The aim is to streamline the process, making it ‘firmer and fairer’ and more manageable.

The idea of this system has not been received well by many business owners who believe that the government should have taken a different approach, one that concentrates on key workers as oppose to whether they have degrees or ample work experience

Employers may have to come to terms with the fact that they need to find more creative ways to attract, retain and motivate employees.

Workers rights

2020 will see many employment laws being updated and new family-friendly rules being introduced to strengthen the rights of workers as the government confirms its continued commitment to the Good Work Plan.

The National Living Wage will be one of the first changes. It is set to increase from the current £8.21 per hour to £10.50 per hour by the year 2024. The age threshold will be lowered in 2021 to 23+ and in 2024 it will be lowered to 21+.

Were yet to hear firm details on some of the upcoming changes, such as:

  • parents of sick babies able to take more time off work
  • the implementation of regulations to the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018
  • making paternity leave easier to increase take-up
  • carers given the right to time off
  • the offer of flexible working to become the default rule
  • the right for workers to ask for a more predictable contract
  • extending redundancy protection for employees returning to work after taking family-leave

Upholding these worker’s rights

Boris’ party plans to create a single enforcement body to help crack down on employers who abuse employment laws. This will ensure that the worker’s rights are upheld.

We recommend that all businesses check and double check that their contracts of employment and their accompanying policies are up to date.

Pensions Regulator

The Conservatives say they are committed to bring back the Pension Schemes Bill. This will give new powers to the Pensions Regulator and will see the introduction of new criminal offences to company directors who do not protect their workplace pension schemes.

IR35 to be reviewed

The proposed reform to the IR35 (off pay-roll working) is due to be implemented on 6 April affecting medium and large sized businesses.

The review should be completed by the end of February 2020 when we can share more on how the changes could affect you. But in the meantime, business owners should plan how they are going to determine whether contracts are inside or outside of IR35 as this will become their responsibility as the end-client.

Proposed Statutory Changes for April 2020

We recommend all businesses take a note of these proposed changes and use them to help plan future budgets and make all the necessary amendments to policies.

Statutory Maternity Pay: The current weekly rate is £148.68 (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate). Its proposed increase will be £151.20 on 5th April.

Statutory Paternity Pay and Shared Parental Pay: The current weekly rate is £148.68 (or 90% of the employees average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory one). Its proposed increased will be £151.20 on 5th April.

Statutory Adoption Pay: This is expected to mirror the figures for Statutory Paternity Pay and Shared Parental Pay meaning that statutory adoption pay is payable at 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, with the remainder of the adoption pay period at the rate of £151.20 (or 90% of average weekly earnings if less than this figure).

Statutory Sick Pay: This is expected to rise from £94.25 per week to £95.85 on the 6th April. To be eligible for this, the employee’s average earnings must be equal to or more than the lower earnings limit. We are still waiting for the lower earning limit to be published.

We’re Here To Help

If you want to start the year with the reassurance and confidence that your business is ready for these inevitable changes, please get in touch with our team of HR professionals on 0161 941 2426.

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