The Good Work Plan: UK Employment Law is changing

Have you heard of the Good Work Plan yet? While it may not be familiar to you just yet, it is set to affect almost every business in the country when its policies start to come into force on 6th April 2020.

Dubbed 'one of the biggest shake ups of modern law in a generation'. The good work plan came about in July 2017 as a result of an independent review known as the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. The report was commissioned by the government as a result of major concerns regarding existing employment legislation.

We highlight some of the key changes to look out for in April 2020.

The right to be issued with written particulars of employment from day one

At present employers have up to 2 months to issue a written statement setting out the basic employment terms. Under the new legislation this will need to be issued on the first day of employment. Another major change is that this right has also been extended to include workers as well as employees. Additionally, the legislation requires the following information to be contained in the written particulars:

  • Maternity and paternity
  • Probationary period
  • All aspects of renumeration
  • Specific days and times employee are required to work

Changes to the way holiday pay is calculated

Holiday pay must be calculated on the basis of average pay, including payments such as shift allowance, regular overtime and commission. Currently holiday pay is calculated by taking an average of the hours worked over the previous 12 weeks. From April the pay reference period will be 52 weeks to take account of seasonal variations, which are common within the food and drink industry. Employees must therefore ensure compliance with new rules regarding calculation of holiday pay.

Increased protection for agency workers

Agency workers are entitled to equal pay compared to permanent workers after 12 weeks, however currently this is not applicable if they are engaged under a contractual arrangement known as 'Swedish derogation' under which they receive minimum level of pay between assignments. This type of contract has been used within the food and drink sector where manufacturers require long term agency. From April this loophole will be scrapped and this this guarantees equal treatment to all workers once they reach 12 weeks service. In addition, under the new legislation employment businesses will be required to issue agency workers with a 'key information document' providing basic information about the work and the pay arrangements.

As more of the Good Work Plan is introduced, employers will need to carefully consider the employment rights of all of those that work for them to ensure that they remain compliant. Companies that breach the new rules could face substantial fines as well as reputational damage.