Good Work Plan - What is Changing?

Posted 06/02/2020 : By: Jessica Piper & Lauren Johns

The Good Work Plan was a consultation following the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. Following that consultation, various pieces of legislation are to be enacted. 

Generally, the Good Work Plan recommendations focus on:

  • fair and decent work for employees 
  • clarity around employment status 
  • increasing transparency 
  • fairer enforcement for employers when protecting the vulnerable.

There are parts of the Good Work Plan that either haven’t yet been agreed yet or the timescale hasn’t been agreed, but there are parts that are set to change in April 2020 which is what we will focus on now.

Statement of terms to be given to all employees and workers from day 1

All employees and workers will have to be provided with a written statement of particulars must now be provided when an individual begins employment or their assignment (a day 1 right).

The information to be provided is that which always was part of the section 1 statement of terms, but also:

  • the days of the week the worker is required to work, whether the working hours may be variable and how any variation will be determined
  • any paid leave to which the worker is entitled
  • details of all remuneration and benefits
  • any probationary period
  • any training entitlement provided by the employer (including whether it is mandatory and/or must be paid for by the worker).

What does this mean for employers?

Previously you have been able to issue contracts of employment or worker agreements within 8 weeks of an employee’s start date (and workers haven’t had to have a contract at all), but this has changed – contracts must by provided by day 1, or before from 6 April 2020. 

Holiday pay - raising awareness

Pay reference period will be increased on 6 April 2020 from 12 weeks to 52 weeks (or the number of complete weeks the worker/employee has been engaged/employed if less) when calculating holiday pay to take account of seasonal variations. 

What does this mean for employers?

Previously this has been a 12-week reference period which could be positive or negative for employees and workers or employers. If employees and workers were taking holiday after a busy period, for example Christmas or over the summer with lots of overtime, you could end up with an inflated average for the period. Likewise, if it was a particularly quiet period in the weeks leading up to leave this could be a much lower holiday rate. With a 52-week average it is much a longer and fairer reference period to take into consideration seasonal fluctuations. It should also, theoretically, make calculations for payroll more straightforward.  

Reduce the thresholds of support for information and consultation rights

The Government has introduced the Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 which contains the statutory provisions to lower the threshold required to set up Information and Consultation arrangements from 10% to 2% of employees.

What does this mean for employers?

This will affect employers who employ over 50 staff, when they are looking to make changes to terms and conditions, they must consult under the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Regulations. Historically this has been a requirement for 10% of employees to request arrangements under the ICE Regs, however this is being lowered to just a 2% requirement. Best practice would always suggest informing and consulting with your employees over proposed changes regardless of size, however if you are an employer with over 50 employees, this is something you might need to be aware of.

Agency workers - the Swedish derogation

The “Swedish derogation” allows employment businesses to avoid giving agency workers pay parity (required after 12 weeks) with comparable direct recruits if they have a contract giving them the right to pay between assignments. From 6 April 2020 this will be abolished and all agency workers must have pay parity after 12 weeks. For any affected workers a statement must be given to tell them that they have the right to equality of treatment from 6th April 2020 - the statement must be given by 30th April 2020. 

What does this mean for employers?

These Agency contracts, otherwise known as ‘pay between assignment contracts’ where agency workers were employed by an agency, are being scrapped. This means that they are entitled to equal pay as a permanent employee after the 12-week qualifying period.

There are also new information requirements for agency work seekers from 6 April 2020 – if you use agency staff please contact us for more information.

Fairer enforcement

Legislation to increase the maximum level of penalty imposed by employment tribunals in cases of aggravated breach to £20,000. Government will also legislate to create an obligation on Employment Tribunals to consider the use of sanctions where employers have lost a previous case on broadly comparable facts. The Good Work Plan also announced that employers that default over payment of employment tribunal awards will be targeted under new proposals. Such employers risk being identified if they fail to offer a satisfactory explanation within 14 days of receiving a notification.

What does this mean for employers?

These measures are intended to try to make employers behave more fairly, and to learn from their mistakes. Be aware of not paying tribunal awards, as this information may end up in the public domain and could do some reputational damage.

Much of the detail surrounding the legal changes set out above was lifted from the Good Work Plan. A full version can be found here: The Good Work Plan: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/good-work-plan

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