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Factsheet – The Good Work Plan and Employment Reforms

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Many of you will have heard of the Good Work Plan and seen the headline that it is being hailed as “the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years”. So what is all the fuss about?

The Government published the Good Work Plan on 17 December 2018 in response to the Taylor Review which called for the Government to conduct a large review of the rights of workers and implement changes.

Since the Good Work Plan was issued, a number of different consultations have taken place and further proposals have been made. All of these papers and consultations have led to a packet of new legislation and proposals that will effect all organisations that engage staff.

Information regarding the new legislation is set out in this factsheet along with guidance on how they may affect you and what you can do to get ready.

Coming into effect on 6 April 2020

1. Written statement of terms

There are three main changes in respect of s.1 written statement of terms.

  1. The right to receive an s.1 compliant written statement of terms is to be extended to workers, not just employees.
  2. This right will take effect on or before the first day of employment, rather than within 2 months of employment starting.
  3. There is also additional information that must be given in the statement.

These details include setting out :

  • Probationary periods;
  • Working days/hours and if they are variable;
  • Details of any benefits on offer such as gym membership, health or medical insurance etc;
  • Details of any paid leave entitlements and
  • Any training that will be offered.

What you should be doing now

  • Review current recruitment processes to ensure contracts are issued on or before an individual commences employment.
  • Review and amend existing contracts of employment to ensure the new additional information has been included in contracts.

Failure to provide a full written statement from day one to all types of workers could result in the worker making an application to the Tribunal for a declaration of the written terms that apply to their employment.

Employees can also receive monetary awards if they are also bringing certain other claims and the employer is in breach of s.1 at the time the other claim is issued.

 

2. Reference period for calculating holiday pay

The government will increase the reference period for determining an average week’s pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. This is to protect workers who do not have a regular working pattern throughout the year by ensuring they are not disadvantaged by matters such as having to take their holiday at a quiet time of the year when their weekly pay might be lower.

What you should be doing now

  • Identify which workers the holiday pay reference period will apply to.
  • How the reference period will be implemented.
  • How information is recorded to ensure accurate records of holiday pay calculations are kept.

Workers not paid their holiday pay correctly may apply to a Tribunal to bring an unlawful deduction of wages claim.

 

3. Repeal of the Swedish derogation

Agency workers who have completed a 12-week qualifying period are entitled to the same “basic working and employment conditions” that they would have been entitled to had they been recruited directly by the hirer.

The Swedish derogation is an exemption from the above equal treatment principle in respect of pay, where agency workers have a permanent employment contract with an employment business and are paid between assignments when they are not working for a hirer. This exemption will be abolished as of 6 April 2020.

In addition, organisations will have until the 30 April 2020 to write to all agency workers they engage under the Swedish derogation with a written statement that it no longer applies and that they are entitled to week 12 rights in respect of pay as well.

What you should be doing now

  • Identify those contracts that contain a Swedish derogation exemption.
  • Provide written notification to workers by no later than 30th April 2020 that the Swedish derogation no longer applies to them and
  • Ensure you identify workers who are eligible for week 12 rights.
  • Keep evidence to ensure those week 12 rights have been implemented.

If an employer fails to do so, or refuses to provide week 12 rights after the qualifying period, the agency worker may bring a claim in the Tribunal for a declaration, recommendation or compensation.

 

4. Key information documents for agency work-seekers

Employers will have to provide agency work-seekers with a key information document before agreeing the terms by which the work-seeker will undertake work. This will only apply to agency worker- seekers who have registered with an agency after 6th April 2020.

The key information document needs to include:

  • The purpose of the key information document;
  • The type of contract;
  • Details of pay and any deductions being made i.e. tax and national insurance;
  • How wages are paid.

What do you need to do now

  • Prepare a key information document detailing the required information to be included.
  • Update and provide the worker a key information document if there is a change for example a change in how a worker gets paid.
  • Ensure you keep records of the key information document to evidence the fact you have complied with the legislation.

 

5. Information and consultation threshold

The threshold for the number of valid employees required to request to set up information and consultation arrangements is being lowered from 10% to 2% of the total number of employees employed by the employer. There will continue to be the requirement for a minimum of 15 employees.

The purpose of this change was considered by the government to engage employees in meaningful consultations, where they feel as part of the business and in turn to increase productivity for employers.

What do you need to now

  • Organisations should ensure they document any request for information and consultation arrangements.
  • Check there is the required number of employees making the request.
  • Implement arrangements so you can provide meaningful information and consultation to employees on economic and employment related matters and keep appropriate records.

At Wilson Browne Solicitors, the employment team has experience in providing assistance and advice in relation to all aspects of employment law.

Jennie Jahina

Posted:

Jennie Jahina

Partner

Jennie is a Partner and Head of the Employment team.  A member of the Employment Lawyers Association, Jennie has 21 years’ experience and is an accredited CEDR Mediator. She acts for private sector organisations ranging from SMEs to multi-national companies and public sector organisations.