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Good Work Plan legislation is coming into effect - is your business ready?

Posted in Employers, Employment Legislation, Policies & Procedures on Mar 13, 2020 by Keeley Edge

This month, we have a guest blog from Emma Harvey from Candid HR on the Good Work Plan, which is coming into effect in April 2020.

Emma specialises in providing commercially focused HR solutions to her clients, enabling them to achieve their business objectives and maximise performance. With over 20 years’ experience in HR across multiple sectors and industries, Emma works with clients in the public and private sectors based in the UK and internationally.

What are the changes to contracts?

Employment contracts are the biggest change to the Good Work Plan.

Currently, businesses are required to give employees their contract of employment within eight weeks from employment commencing. 

From 6 April, a contract must be issued to anyone with worker status, not just employees, and must be done on or before the first day.  In addition, the contract must detail benefits, training, salary, leave and sickness absence.

What are the changes to zero-hours contracts?

Currently, those on zero-hours contracts for a long period of time may have regular working patterns similar to permanent employees. 

Following 26 weeks of service, all workers will be able to request a more fixed working pattern from their employer.  For example, they may ask for a guaranteed minimum number of hours and certainty as to the days on which they will be asked to work.  Employers will have to respond to any request within a three-month timeframe.

The way holiday pay is calculated for people who work irregular hours is changing too. 

Currently, a worker may get different rates of pay during holidays taken, depending on how many hours they have worked in the three months prior to the holiday.

From 6 April, the ‘reference period’ will change from 3 months to 52 weeks.

There will also be a campaign to ensure that individuals better understand their rights and a new holiday entitlement calculator will be launched.

What are the changes for agency workers?

Currently, the law allows agency workers to exchange their right to be paid the same as a permanent worker in a comparable position.  They forfeit this in return for a contract with the Agency which guarantees pay between assignments, known as the ‘Swedish derogation’.

A review found workers were not benefitting from the opt-out.  In reality, they were not being paid between assignments, and agencies were typically offering work that individuals were unable to accept, leaving them worse off. 

So, from 6 April, following 12 weeks of service, the option to opt-out of equal pay will be removed.

What are the changes to continuous service?

Presently, 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.

From 6 April, the break will be four weeks.  The change is designed to benefit employees who work intermittently for the same employer and struggle to ever build up employment rights.

Be aware, this will also affect those who are retiring and intend on being re-hired by the same employer soon afterwards.

Other changes 

Promotion of justice and protecting the vulnerable are the central aims of these reforms and other legislation includes:

  • The naming and shaming of employers who do not pay the compensation awarded by an employment tribunal following a successful claim
  • The extension of the remit of the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate so that it also covers umbrella companies
  • Vulnerable workers will also receive support when an employer does not correctly pay holiday pay
  • April will also see the introduction of bereavement leave, although the exact date hasn’t been confirmed

So, with the multitude of changes on the horizon as a result of the Good Work Plan, employers need to start thinking practically about how it will impact them, so they are not exposed to tribunals. 

Candid HR are offering advice to business owners about key legislation called the ‘Good Work Plan’. Managing Director – Emma Harvey comments “it is essential businesses who issue contracts of employment, provide holiday pay and use agency workers understand the changes so they keep on the right side of the law.”

If you want support to make sure you are ready for the Good Work Plan contact Candid HR:  

At Key Appointments, we have a number of contacts in the HR and Employee Engagement field who can not only help you implement the Good Work Plan from a legislative perspective but can also look at how having an effective onboarding process, can help you to engage and retain employees in the long run.

Please contact us is you have any questions in this area and we’ll refer you to our trusted contacts.

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