It was some time ago now that the Good Work Plan made news headlines, and unless you keep abreast of employment law updates, you may not have heard of the Good Work Plan, never mind be aware of the positive changes that are coming in to force in April 2020… but that’s part of what we’re here for – your trusty HR Advisor in your pocket and always on your side, HR Solver.
The government’s Good Work Plan is a sizeable policy paper, which sets out 51 different proposals for implementation. These proposals were recommended under an independent review of modern working practices, undertaken by Matthew Taylor in 2017, commonly referred to as the ‘Taylor Review’. We have already seen the government take forward 4 consultations and seen a number of changes to employment law implemented, such as Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019; Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019. But April 2020 sees even more changes set to come in to force.
Clearly 51 proposals would take some time to cover, and we don’t want to bore you either! so here’s a manageable overview of some of the most significant and wide-reaching changes that may positively affect you at work:
- Employment Contract, Terms and Conditions, Written Statement of Particulars – Call it what you like, but we often come across individuals that do not have a contract, or have never received a copy of their terms and conditions of employment. So, this change is a biggie, and is likely to trip up many an unscrupulous employer. From April 2020, all workers, as well as employees, are entitled to a ‘comprehensive statement of particulars’ from day 1 of their employment. What does this actually mean? Put simply it’s a written document summarising your main terms and conditions of employment and should include things like pay and working hours.
- Continuous Employment – By this it means working for the same employer without a ‘significant’ break. The change in law here, is in the period of the ‘significant’ break part. Previously a break of more than 1 week would have broken your continuous employment, however effective April 2020, a break of up to 4 weeks will be allowed, and it will protect your Continuous Employment and all the rights that are associated with 2 year’s continuous employment. Some less principled employers might have dismissed and then re-engaged employees very shortly afterwards, to effectively re-set their employment rights, particularly things like protection from unfair dismissal which only accrues after 2 years’ service.
- Holiday Rights – For many, working out that you are entitled to be paid when you are on holiday from work is not as straight forward as it could be, due to variations in your pay, for example overtime worked etc. A positive change brought about by the Good Work Plan is that all holiday pay, with effective from April 2020, is to be calculated over a ‘holiday pay reference period’ of 52 weeks (rather than the 12 weeks previously).
- What about those tips you receive? – Typically, in the hospitality and catering industries the tips you might receive from customers make up a proportion of your pay. The good news for you, is that with effect from April 2020 the Good Work Plan bans employers from taking administrative fees or other deductions from staff tips. So you can expect to see more of those hard earned tips.
- Protections for Agency Workers –Perhaps you’re an agency worker, well the next 2 are for you then. As from April 2020 you have the right to be provided with a ‘Key Facts Page’, which must include information on the type of contract, your rate of pay, who is responsible for paying you and any deductions or fees that will be taken from your pay.
- Agency Worker’s Pay – in addition to the above new rights, all agency workers, after 12 weeks’ service, will have the right to receive the same pay and basic employment terms (as comparable employees) including those employed directly by employment agencies.
- One to Watch out for coming in future is Fixed Working Patterns – Whilst a good number of you may enjoy stable and fixed working patterns, there are also many workers and employees out there that don’t have such arrangements or stability in their working patterns, or perhaps you are one of them? Whilst this type of flexible working pattern arrangement might suit some employers and their staff, it’s not ideal for many, as variations to working days and hours may complicate care arrangements that need to be made, or maybe the variety in pay, due to the nature of a ‘zero hours’ contract doesn’t work for you. Prior to now there was very little you could do about this, but another implementation stemming from the Good Work Plan, is that all workers and employees, after 26 weeks’ continuous employment, will be able to request fixed, or more predictable, working patterns. By way of example you might request some certainty over the days you will work, or a guarantee in the number of hours you will work each week. We expect this will work much like the existing “flexible working regulations” that are already in place, where you are entitled to make a request, and employers will have up to 3 months to make a decision on any such request.
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