The Government has recently implemented the ‘Good Work Plan’ with the aim to improve the employment rights of workers. As a result, businesses will be expected to familiarise themselves and implement the following changes to their current working practices.
From April 2020, employees will be entitled to receive a written statement, which provides details of the employee’s contractual terms and working conditions from the first day of employment, rather than the current requirement of two months.
The legislation also requires the document to contain information of paid leave, the duration of any applicable probationary period and any benefit entitlements.
The new stable contracts will mean that employees who have 26 weeks’ continuous service are able to request more secure and stable contracts, while employers will be given three months to respond to requests.
The group of workers that are most likely to benefit from the new rules are zero-hour workers, as they can request a guaranteed number of hours or certainty as to the days on which they will be asked to work.
In addition, the new reform will allow for a four-week break in employment, compared to the current one week break, which will enable casual hour workers to benefit from the rights awarded by the length of continuous service.
Employers will be required to take note of this change when calculating the length of an employee’s continuous service for their entitlement to certain employment rights.
As of April 2020, agency workers will be protected as the ‘Good Work Plan’ will attempt to close the Swedish derogation loophole, by removing the option to opt out of their entitlement. This means that agency workers will no longer receive the same level of pay as permanent workers and instead be paid a rate between assignments.
Last but not least, instead of an employee’s holiday pay being based on 12 weeks, it will soon be based on 52 weeks to offer fairness in calculations for those that work variable hours. Incorrect holiday payments will be able to be backdated up to two years, subject to other conditions. In light of this, businesses should keep all documentation up to date to accurately reflect holiday policies and procedures.