In 2017 a report published by Mathew Taylor outlined 53 proposals to the government on improving the modern working practices. The Good Work Plan was a response by the government to the suggestions which was published in 2018 and set out the changes that will be implemented. The changes affect England, Wales and Scotland.
There are several legislation changes that have now come into place, with the Good Work Plan.
Written Statement of Main Terms and Conditions
From now Employers will be required to provide Employees and Workers with a written statement of particulars on or before the first day of their employment.
Workers; including zero-hour workers and casual workers will have the legal right to receive written statement of main terms and conditions. The statement must be specific to the workers arrangements.
In addition to the above, the written statement of main terms and conditions also need to include the following:
- The days and hours that the Employee would be required to work; e.g. “You are required to work 30 hours per week on the rota basis which will be issued to you on the bi-weekly basis. The days you re required to work will be Monday to Sunday, 08:00am – 23:00pm, you are not required to work for more than 8 hours per day or more than 5 days per week.”
- Any benefits that the Employer offers to Employees need to be detailed in the contract. Any additional benefits will need to be communicated to the Employees within 1 month of adopting them. Examples of benefits: Employee Assistance Programmes, child benefit vouchers, mobile phones, bonuses, private medical insurance, etc.
- Probation period details including the length and the conditions for passing; e.g. “Your employment is subject to an initial probation period of X months. During this time your performance and attendance will be subject to review. The probation period may be extended at any time at the Company’s discretion. The probationary period will be deemed to continue in all respects until the Company confirms in writing to you that you have successfully completed your probationary period.
If your performance has not been satisfactory, your probationary period may be extended, or the Company may choose to terminate your employment. During your probationary period the Company may dispense in whole or in part with its normal disciplinary process.”
- Details of any training that is offered by the Employer, whether voluntary or mandatory and the details of who will bear the cost of these trainings.
- Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018. Employees with 26 weeks consecutive service are be entitled to 2 weeks paid leave to be used within 56 weeks following a death of a child, Employees with less service are entitled to an unpaid leave.
Period to Break Continuous Service
The period to break the continuous service has now extended from 1 week to 4 weeks. Which will allow employees who work intermittently for their employers to gain access to their employment rights.
The pay reference period has increased from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, or for Employees with less than 52 weeks service, the total number of weeks they have worked. This is a fairer approach for employees with variable hours, as their holiday pay will reflect their working hours across the year, thus preventing them from getting varied pay during ‘high’ or ‘low’ season. However, where weeks in which no pay has been received, this will not be counted towards the 52-week average.
To calculate how much annual leave an employee is entitled to over a 52 week average period, the following method applies:
- Number of hours worked a week x by 5.6 = Holiday entitlement per year
- Divide the total number by 52 weeks = Hours accrued per week
More Stable Contract
Employees who do not have regular working hours have the ability to request a more stable contract after 26 weeks continuous service. Individuals will be able to request a more fixed working pattern with a guaranteed number of hours.
Employers are now banned from taking Employees’ tips. Many of the workers especially in the Hospitality sector earn the national minimum wage, the tips provide them with an additional financial benefit. The consumers will also be reassured that their reward has gone to the staff as intended.
Information and Consultation
The threshold required to set up Information and Consultation arrangements has been lowered from 10% to 2% of Employees. The 15 Employee minimum threshold for initiation of proceedings remains the same.
Employment status has always been a complicating matter to understand. When determining someone’s status there are several tests that were used. The government has agreed that with the new and emerging work arrangements a new framework needs to be developed to assist individuals and Employers with determining their status. Matthew Taylor recommends that the tests that determine whether someone is self-employed or has worker rights should place more emphasis on control and less on the notional right – rarely in practice exercised – to send a substitute.
The biggest change for the agency workers is the abolishment of the Swedish Derogation Agreement which allowed recruitment companies to pay agency workers less than the permanent employees. Agency workers are now entitled to the same pay as the direct recruits of the business after they have performed the same role with the same hirer for 12 consecutive calendar weeks.