How is employment law changing for small businesses and employers of nannies

In April, the Government usually issues changes in the income thresholds or changes in the minimum wage. There are usually also minor tweaks to employment law which employers should be aware of, whether by statute of through case law.

April 2020 is no different.

Here are some of the basic changes that you should be aware of if you are employing even just one person in your home or your business:

  • In the ‘Good Work Plan’, published in December 2018, the government made a commitment to extend the entitlement to receive a statement of ‘written particulars’ (or basic employment terms and conditions) to include workers as well as employees and make it a day one right. Currently employers have up to two months to issue the statement to any employee working for them for more than a month. This means that you need to either have one document setting out basic terms as of day one or make sure that you have the complete contract ready before your employee starts.

Additional information will need to be included in written statements of terms for employees and workers, including information on the length of time a job is expected to last, the notice period, eligibility for sick leave and pay, other rights to leave, any probationary period, all pay and benefits, and specific days and times of work.

  • On 23 January 2020, the Government announced that the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 will be coming into force on 6 April. The Act, which became law in 13 September last year, gives employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy, the right to two weeks’ leave as a ‘day one’ employment right. The leave, which can be taken as one block or as two one-week blocks, will be paid at the same statutory rate as other family friendly rights if the employee has 26 weeks’ service. The government press release says the leave will be available during the first year after the child’s death. Employed parents are already entitled as a day one right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with emergencies involving a dependent, including dealing with a dependent’s death.
  • Changes are being brought into the calculation of holiday leave, or more specifically the holiday pay reference period, aiming to help seasonal workers and those with flexible hours. The holiday pay reference period will rise from 12 to 52 weeks for workers who work different hours from one week to another. This means that “employers will need to look back over the past 52 weeks, discarding any weeks that a worker did not earn, to calculate their average weekly pay.”
  • Changes in the current rates and limits on the following awards and payments: statutory sick pay, maternity, paternity and adoption pay, national minimum wage rates, and Disclosure and Barring Service fees for criminal record checks include:
  • Rise in SMP, SPP and SAP from 5 April 2020 to £151.20 or 90 per cent of employee’s weekly earnings if this is lower.
  • Rise in SSP from 6 April 2020 to £95.85 per week.
  • From 1 April:
    • Workers aged 25 and over: £8.72 an hour (National Living Wage)
    • Workers aged 21-24: £8.20 an hour
    • Development rate for workers aged 18-20: £6.45 an hour
    • Young workers rate for workers aged 16-17: £4.55 an hour
    • Apprentice rate: £4.15 an hour
  • Criminal record check fees are as follows:
    • Enhanced DBS check: £44
    • Standard DBS check: £26
    • DBS adult first check: £6
    • Registration application: £300
    • Countersignatory application: £5
  • The Court of Appeal recently determined in a case named Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake; Shannon v Rampersad (t/a Clifton House Residential Home) [2018] EWCA Civ 1641 that workers on sleep-in shifts were only entitled to the national minimum wage in respect of hours in which they were required to be awake for the purposes of working, not for the whole shift. Therefore, if the worker/employee is asleep, he or she is not entitled to the minimum wage for those hours.
New employment bill

The Government, as per its manifesto, is proposing a new Employment Bill, which would apply in the main to England, Wales and Scotland. The new bill is expected to include the following measures:

  • Extending redundancy protection to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination, effectively making it harder to make employees redundant during pregnancy and afterwards, until six months after they have returned from maternity leave.
  • Extended leave for neonatal care to support parents of premature or sick babies.
  • Making flexible working the default to make flexible working the default position unless an employer has a good reason.

In the 2020 Budget delivered by the Chancellor on 11 March, it was announced that:

  • National Insurance Contributions tax threshold will rise from £8,632 to £9,500, saving a typical employee around £104 a year from April;

This is a short summary of the changes that have been announced and you should be aware of. If you would like some help drafting your employment contract for your nanny or small business, please give Parental Choice a call and we would be pleased to assist, with an onsite solicitor as part of the team, ready to help.

For advice in light of the Coronavirus see the Parental Choice Payroll Coronavirus Advice Hub which we are regularly updating or check out our useful blog advice articles.

Parental Choice Payroll are a team of experts who look after running PAYE and pension administration for working families who employ nannies and small businesses.

If you need help with nanny PAYE, nanny tax or auto enrolment into a workplace pension get in touch.

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