The Good Work Plan
8th June 2020
The Good Work Plan is a government policy that aims to improve workers’ rights. In the Good Work Plan there are legislative changes to employment law, which came into effect on 6 April 2020. Due to COVID-19, the focus has been on supporting Government restrictions and the impact on staff but now schools are re-opening we need to ensure these changes are implemented.
Changes that are already enforced:
Changes with effect from 6th April 2020:
- Reduction of the thresholds of support for consultation rights
- Holiday pay reference periods
- Right to a Written Statement of the main terms
- Agency workers
Changes coming into effect with no set date:
- Employment status frameworks for employment rights and tax
- Enforcement of statutory holiday pay
- Right to a more stable contract
- Break in continuous service
We outline the changes that have already come into force below:
1. Increasing maximum penalty imposed by employment tribunals
On the 6th April 2019, the maximum penalty you will receive at an employment tribunal is increasing from £5,000 to £20,000 for an aggravated breach. This now applies if you are found to have breached any worker rights, and the breach has one or more aggravating features. If the penalty is paid within 21 days, the amount of the penalty is reduced by 50%.
2. Payslip changes
On 6th April 2019, the first changes of the Good Work Plan came into force. All Workers must have an itemised payslip. In many cases you’ll also have to put the number of hours worked on a payslip too.
We outline the changes that are relevant as of 6th April 2020 below
3. Reduction of the thresholds of support for consultation rights
This change applies to the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations (ICE Regs). These regulations give employees the right to be informed and consulted about issues in the organisation.
This arrangement only comes into force if requested by 15 or more employees (or 10% of the workforce). It can also come into force if you choose to start it of your own accord. The regulations currently apply to business with 50 or more employees only.
As of 6 April 2020 the threshold to make a request will be reduced from 10% to 2% of employees. However, there still needs to be a minimum of 15 employees to make a request. Action required: Schools should be aware of the change. HR will support with this impact should the matter arise.
4. Review how you calculate holiday pay for staff with irregular hours
Employers must now calculate holiday pay for staff with irregular hours by taking their average weekly pay over the last 52 weeks.
Previously, the calculation would have been made using their average weekly pay for the 12 weeks prior to the start of the holiday. Action required: If payroll is undertaken by the Local Authority or another provider, it is your responsibility to contact them and ensure they are aware of and complying by the new legislation. If you undertake your payroll you will need to ensure your calculations reflect the change and you inform any staff how this change may impact on them. When implementing these changes and updating staff you may be asked about retrospective holiday pay claims. If so please contact your HR Consultant to discuss this further.
5. All new workers are entitled to a written statement by day one of employment and more detailed written statement.
All new staff who started on 6 April 2020 must receive a written statement of employment details from their employer on or before their first day of employment.
Previously, this could be provided up to 2 months after they started, and the employer only had to give this to employees and not workers.
There’s new additional information that needs to be include in the written statement now too. The information can be given in instalments rather than in the initial statement, below is a link to ACAS guidance which provides a list of requirements and a template.
https://www.acas.org.uk/what-must-be-written-in-an-employment-contract/what-the-written-terms-must-include Action required: If your contracts are issued by another provider (including the Local Authority), it is your responsibility to contact them and ensure they are aware of and complying by the new legislation. If you undertake your own administration you will need to ensure your templates meet the new requirements and that you review your process for sending out contracts to ensure compliance.
6. Protecting agency workers
The Agency Workers Directive 2010 gave, after 12 weeks of service, an agency worker entitlement to receive the same level of pay and benefits as a permanent worker. The agency worker could opt out of this right and instead elect to receive a guaranteed level of pay between their temporary assignments (often referred to as “the Swedish derogation”).
The Good Work Plan has removed the right to opt-out as often agency workers are financially worse off taking the option (Swedish derogation). Action required: Schools will need to be mindful of agreed rates of pay with agencies and ensure the agency is paying the worker the equivalent of an employee carrying out a role of equal value.
We outline the changes that coming into effect with no set date below:
7. Employment status frameworks for employment rights and tax
Due to a significant number of disagreements on employment status in the gig economy, concerns were raised about some individuals not receiving their rights.
As a result of this, proposals are to be put forward to align the current employment law framework to fit with this new form of employment status.
A consultation has happened, but no progress has been made on creating the desired clarity. Therefore, no changes have been announced. Action required: no action at present
8. Enforcement of statutory holiday pay
Currently, when an employer doesn’t pay holiday pay entitlement correctly, the employee had to take them an employment tribunal. This will change with the Good Work Plan.
The government is introducing a state-led enforcement regime to assist vulnerable workers. However, there’s no date set for this change to come into force, yet. Action required: no action at present
9. Right to request a more predictable and stable contract
This new right means an employee can request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks of employment.
Examples of what might be requested include a guaranteed minimum number of hours and certainty as to the days on which they will be asked to work.
This new development will predominantly benefit individuals who are employed as casuals or on zero-hour contracts. An employer will have three months to make their decision on any such request. Action required: no action at present
10. Break in continuous service
Previously, a gap of just one week can break an individual’s continuity of service. Therefore, despite regularly working on and off for the same employer over a long period of time, an individual may not build up any significant length of service.
This break period will be extended from one week to four weeks, helping those employees who work on a sporadic or casual basis to qualify for more employment rights (such as the right not to be unfairly dismissed or the right to statutory maternity pay), which require a particular length of service. Action required: no action at present
Schools need to be aware when recruiting new staff that a 4 week break is required to break continuity of service. This is especially important when appointing to fixed term contracts as the employee may have continuous service from work undertaken at other employers covered by the Modification Order 1999. This impacts on the new employees’ rights in relation terms and conditions e.g. redundancy pay and sick pay
You can find full details of the plan using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/good-work-plan
If you need any further support about this matter or any other HR issues please please contact your HR Consultant on 0161 850 4343.