Key Employment Law Changes in 2020

Employment law is often subject to change; here at Thrive that’s why we love it (because it’s never boring!).

If you’re a business owner or if you work within HR, these employment changes are going to affect you and your team. Therefore, it is crucial to keep a track of these changes, so you can understand your responsibilities. We have outlined and summarised some key changes that are set to occur this year, below.

Usually, changes come about in the April of each year as they’re introduced as part of a new budget. So, what changes can you expect from 6 April 2020?

Updated Vento Bands

There has been an update on the Vento bands for damages for injury to feelings from the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals (England & Wales, and Scotland) in which they have issued Presidential Guidance.

The new bands, for claims issued on or after 6th April 2020 are as follows;

  • Lower band: £900 to £9k
  • Middle band: £9k to £27k
  • Upper band: £27k to £45k (with the possibility of most serious cases exceeding £45k)

These figures do take into account the 10% uplift from Simmons v Castle.

Carrying over annual leave

The government has announced it is allowing workers to carry over up to four weeks annual leave into the next two leave years.

The (as yet unpublished) forthcoming The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amend regulation 13 of the Working Time Regulations to allow workers to carry over EU holiday into the next two leave years, where it is not reasonably practicable for them to take some, or all, of the holiday they are entitled to due to COVID-19.

Please note: regulation 13 only deals with the EU four weeks’ leave, the balance of 1.6 weeks’ statutory leave will not be affected. The change is aimed at allowing businesses under particular pressure from the impacts of COVID-19 the flexibility to better manage their workforce.

Day One Contracts

From April 2020, all workers and employees will be entitled to and must be provided with a written statement of particulars, either on their first day of work or prior to them commencing work. Before, the statements had to be provided within the first eight weeks of employment, and it was only employees who had such entitlements.

In addition to the details required by section 1 Employment Rights Act 1996, these written statements must now include:

The specific times and dates a worker or employee is set to work each week (and whether this is varied or may be varied);

  • How long a job is expected to last, or the end date of a fixed-term contract;
  • Details of eligibility for sick leave and pay, and details of any other type of paid leave;
  • The duration and conditions of any probationary period;
  • Details of any further benefits and remuneration (not just salary) including health insurance, lunch etc;
  • Any training entitlement provided by the employer and any training which is required, which the employer will not fund.
  • What should you do? Ideally, your employees should have their contracts provided to them before they start work, so you can ensure you have a copy which is signed and dated on or before their first day. This might mean that you need to review your induction procedures.

Changing Holiday Pay

The Good Work Plan committed the government to improving holiday pay for seasonal workers. Before, the reference period for the holiday was the previous 12 weeks. However, this is now being increased significantly to 52 weeks, or if the worker is an employee for less than 52 weeks then the number of weeks for which the worker was engaged.

This means that all employers need to make sure that they have accurate records of pay for the 52 weeks prior to 6 April 2020 and ensure that this is up to date and continue to accurately record such data.

Britain’s Big Exit – Brexit

As we’ve previously blogged about, Britain left the European Union on the 31 of January, at exactly 11:00 pm.

As we detailed in our blog, there’s some uncertainty which arises from this withdrawal, mainly concerning how much easier it might be for the government to retract or amend employment rights as Ministers now have the power to make regulations to determine when lower courts and tribunals should depart from existing EU law. The Government has indicated that certain employment rights and laws will be reiterated (or improved) in a new Employment Bill, but it has not yet been introduced to Parliament.

May’s Bank Holiday Change Up

May is a prized month to many full-time workers, mainly because of the two bank holidays we’re gifted with each year within this month. Rest assured, we are not losing a bank holiday but simply shifting the day on which this bank holiday falls. The first bank holiday within May has traditionally always been set on a Monday. This year, the bank holiday has been shifted to a Friday (8 May), to honour the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

We have posted in our Bank Holiday change blog about what this might mean for your employees and how this might best be handled from a HR perspective.

New Parental Bereavement Guidelines

From April 2020, the Parental Bereavement Act 2018 will come into force. We published our thoughts on this new form of leave in our bereavement blog.

This will allow parents who lose a child under the age of 18 (or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy) to take leave in the first year after the death as either a single block of two weeks, or two separate weeks.

As we discussed in our blog, some of the reports on this leave have been misleading, with it being implied that the leave is “paid leave”. In fact, this is not the case:

  • The bereavement leave is not paid if the parent has not got 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer.
  • The leave is not paid if the parent does not earn above the lower earnings limit (£118 per week for 2019 to 2020)
  • For employees who meet both the above criteria, the leave is only £148.68 per week (for 2019 to 2020), or 90% of average weekly earnings where this is lower.

National Minimum Wage

New National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage figures have been released for April 2020 to 2021.

The National Living Wage (for over 25 year olds) will increase by 6.2% from £8.21 to £8.72.

The National Minimum Wage will rise across all age groups, including:

  • A 6.5% increase from £7.70 to £8.20 for 21-24 year olds
  • A 4.9% increase from £6.15 to £6.45 for 18-20 year olds
  • A 4.6% increase from £4.35 to £4.55 for Under 18s
  • A 6.4% increase from £3.90 to £4.15 for Apprentices

IR35 Proposed Tax Reforms

Please note, the proposed IR35 reforms are now set to be delayed for a year due to the coronavirus.


If you would like to speak to a member of our team about any of our services or if you have any concerns about the upcoming changes in relation to your workplace and/or workforce, please get in touch.


Written by Uthman El-Dharrat and Alicia Collinson

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