During my most recent Employment Law workshop, we covered a number of HR specific issues that have recently been updated. As it’s important that you, as an employer, know about any employment law changes, here’s a summary of some of the most pertinent items.
Even if you attended the event, this summary will help you to keep abreast of latest legislation.
Leap Year Holidays – are employees entitled to an extra day?
As 2020 is a leap year, you may well be asked this question by your employees:
- Salaried employees are paid a set salary for the year, so unless their Employment Contract states that they can have an extra day’s pay (extremely unlikely), it doesn’t make any difference to what they’re paid.
- However, an employee who is paid according to the hours they work, or the amount of work they do, will be entitled to be paid for that extra day if they have to work it.
Vehicle Tracking and GDPR
Many organisations use tracking devices in their company vehicles to record behavioural information, such as speed and distance travelled. If this is necessary for your business, you need to ensure you’re legally compliant:
- Draw up a Vehicle Tracking Policy that sets out the aims of the technology, clarifies the rules and procedures of usage, and explains how the data is used for your employees to understand.
- Full transparency is needed for GDPR purposes, so this information should also be included in your Employee Privacy Statement.
- Where personal use of the vehicles is permitted, a privacy button or similar technology should be installed to ensure that data is not collected outside business hours.
- If you need specific help to create a Vehicle Tracking Policy for your organisation, please get in touch.
Redundancy Protection for Pregnant Employees and New Parents
The law will be extended and will double the current period of redundancy protection as follows:
- So that it applies from the point at which an employee informs their employer that they are pregnant, whether this is done orally or in writing; and
- For six months following the end of maternity leave.
For now, these are the important things to note as an employer:
- An employee selected for redundancy during maternity leave is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy with you before other employees and without application or competitive interview.
- Failure to offer the above renders the subsequent redundancy dismissal as automatically unfair.
Parental Bereavement Leave Entitlement
From April 2020, statutory leave will be available to all employees who are ‘bereaved parents’ where they were the primary carers for a child under 18, however long they have worked with you. Other things you must consider are:
- Entitlement focuses more on the responsibility of the ‘primary carer’ and less on the legal status of the carer to the child.
- This includes non-traditional family structures, such as adoptive parents, people fostering to adopt, legal guardians and most foster parents.
- It also covers parents who suffer a stillbirth at 24 weeks or more into pregnancy.
- Bereavement leave patterns are in units of a week, not days. A single block of two weeks or two separate one week blocks should be taken up to 56 weeks from the date of death.
Vegetarianism and the Equality Act 2010
An employment tribunal – Conisbee v Crossley Farms Ltd – recently held that vegetarianism is not a ‘philosophical belief’ under the Equality Act 2010. However, the tribunal did suggest that veganism is more likely to be protected under the Act as vegans: ‘do not accept the practice under any circumstances of eating meat, fish or dairy products, and have distinct concerns about the way animals are reared, the clear belief that killing and eating animals is contrary to a civilised society and also against climate control’.
As an employer, it’s good practice to respect individual’s dietary choices and requirements. Ensure that work-related social events cater for your employees’ dietary needs, and encourage an atmosphere of acceptance. Don’t allow staff to mock their colleagues for their dietary choices.
From April 2020 private sector firms will have to check whether contractors need to pay income tax and national insurance contributions, moving the responsibility for conducting checks from the contractor to the hirer/end user business using their services.
Only companies which are not “small”, as defined by the Companies Act 2006, will be subject to the new off-payroll working rules. A small company must meet twoof the following qualifying conditions:
• An annual turnover not more than £10.2m
• A balance sheet total not more than £5.1m
• No more than 50 employees.
For unincorporated organisations, those businesses whose turnover exceeds £10.2m in one calendar year must operate the rules.
The new rules will require the hirer/end user to provide an employment status determination and the reasons for that decision down the contractual chain to each party, in addition to directly to the worker.
A “status disagreement process” will be required to respond to representations from workers where there is a disagreement over determination. HMRC has promised guidance on how to fulfil the obligation to take reasonable care and how to implement a status disagreement process.
The HMRC Check Employment Status for Tax tool (CEST), is intended to help with status determinations, but still fails to win the confidence of its intended users, particularly in light of HMRC’s failure in tax tribunal cases to apply the status tests correctly.
There are many challenges to consider, such as identifying those PSC’s, not taking a blanket approach, and being prepared to deal with appeals. For more information on the complexities of IR35 and how it could affect your business, do get in touch.
If you would like to discuss any of the above employment law items, or have any other issues you need help with, do call me on 0118 940 3032 or click here to email me.