Following the recent publication of its “Good Work Plan”, the government has now laid before Parliament three statutory instruments to implement certain aspects of that Plan.
The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 and the draft Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 will both come into force for the most part on 6 April 2020. They amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 by extending the right to receive a written statement of employment particulars to workers (this right currently only applies to employees) and providing that the written statement must be given on or before the first day of employment, rather than within two months of employment starting. The regulations also add to the mandatory information that must be given in the written statement.
In addition, the regulations increase the reference period for determining an average week’s pay where the worker receives variable remuneration for the purposes of calculating holiday pay from twelve to 52 weeks (or the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been employed if less), lower the threshold required for a valid request to set up information and consultation arrangements from 10% to 2% of employees and increase the maximum limit of an employment tribunal penalty for an aggravated breach of employment law from £5,000 to £20,000 (this latter provision will come into force on 6 April 2019).
The draft Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019 are also due to come into force on 6 April 2020 and they will amend the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 to repeal the “Swedish derogation” for agency workers and ban the use of this type of contract to avoid agency workers’ equal pay rights. The Swedish derogation currently allows employment businesses to avoid giving agency workers pay equality with comparable direct recruits if they have an employment contract which gives them a right to pay between assignments.