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New law: Government proposals for major employment law changes

Employers should start preparing now for major changes to employment law following publication of the Government’s proposals under its Good Work Plan.

Key proposals set out by government include:

  • Clarifying the law to help employers and staff understand when a person is an employee, worker or self-employed (though change to current classifications has not been proposed, as some hoped)
  • Employers to provide a written statement of terms for all workers, not just employees, to include more terms – and most terms being provided on day one of employment rather than within two months
  • Employers to give ‘specific key facts’, similar to a statement of terms for employees, to agency workers on the first day of engagement
  • Employers to pay gig economy workers the national minimum or living wage
  • Making sure workers are aware of their rights, such as to paid holiday
  • Transferring enforcement of statutory holiday and sick pay to HMRC, simplifying the process to enforce tribunal awards and improving how employment tribunal awards are enforced, including naming and shaming those who fail to pay
  • Increasing the maximum penalty for ‘aggravated breaches’ of employment law from £5,000 to £20,000
  • Abolishing the system whereby agency workers who receive a minimum payment when they are not working can opt out of the right to be paid the same as employees of the businesses they work for (known as the ‘Swedish derogation’)
  • Providing that, for the purposes of calculating an employee’s period of continuous service (which affects whether they are entitled to certain employment law rights, such as protection from unfair dismissal), a break in their employment of four weeks will not stop the employment being continuous (currently, only a one-week break is allowed)
  • Giving flexible workers a right to request a ‘more stable’ contract after 26 weeks’ continuous service, eg a zero hours’ worker who usually works 30 hours per week can request a contract guaranteeing 30 hours work per week
  • Changing the pay reference period for calculating holiday pay from 12 to 52 weeks

Operative date

  • Now


  • Employers should consider taking advice on the implications of the new laws on their recruitment, promotion and other employment law policies and procedures

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Posted on 31 January 2019 | 3:12 pm

New law: Government announces new campaign against workplace harassment

Employers are preparing to review their policies, procedures and staff training to ensure employees are protected from harassment in the workplace, following the announcement of a new government campaign.

The new initiative focuses on sexual harassment (following an increase in public awareness of this issue, such as  the #metoo campaign) and is intended to include:

  • A new Code of Practice to help employers understand their responsibilities
  • Awareness campaigns with employers, Acas and the Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • An updated list of organisations authorised to receive information from whistleblowers
  • Data on sexual harassment at work to be published at least every three years
  • Consultations on:
    • Regulation of non-disclosure agreements
    • Third party harassment laws
    • Changes to tribunal time limits for bringing sexual harassment and other equality-based claims
    • A possible new legal duty for employers to prevent sexual harassment

Operative date

  • Now


  • Employers should consider reviewing their policies, procedures and staff training to ensure employees are effectively protected against sexual harassment

© Atom Content Marketing 2019… Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 3:11 pm

New law: Directors and employees planning to benefit from Entrepreneurs’ Relief should check their eligibility despite amendments to problematic budget changes

Directors and employees of limited companies hoping to claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief on the sale of shares should check whether changes to the relief made by the recent Budget have affected their eligibility – even though government has revised its original proposals.Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 3:04 pm

Case law: Court gives guidance on dealing with employees who fail drug/alcohol tests

An employer must act reasonably towards an employee who has failed a drugs or alcohol test.  It must take into account the employee’s  record, what the employer’s policies say, any explanation given by the employee (and the possible need to investigate further) and the effect of any sanction on their future  employment prospects, a recent ruling makes clear.Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 3:03 pm

New law: Public sector rules requiring employers to deduct PAYE and NI from some contractors’ payments to be extended to private sector

Some private sector businesses using contractors who operate through a limited company or partnership (an ‘intermediary’) will have to deduct PAYE and national insurance (NI) from payments to those intermediaries, under new rules coming into force on 6 April 2020.

Under the new rules, recently announced by the Government, private sector businesses using individual contractors (whether directly or through an agency) who operate through an intermediary must:

  • Decide whether the IR35 rules apply
  • If they do, deduct PAYE and NI contributions from their payments to the intermediary

A business caught by the new rules may also have to pay apprenticeship levy costs.… Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 3:02 pm

New law: New regime makes it easier for small businesses to obtain invoice finance

Small businesses may find it easier to raise finance now that new laws say any provision in a business contract is void if it stops them raising money by assigning a ‘receivable’ to a third party, imposes conditions on an assignment or stops someone from valuing or enforcing the receivable.Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 3:01 pm

Case law: Employers may have to give an employee a statement of terms of employment, even if their employment ends within two months

Employers must give an employee a statement of terms, even if their employment is terminated before expiry of the two-month period for giving them such a statement, provided they were employed for at least a month, a recent ruling makes clear.Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 3:01 pm

New law: Changes to UK trade mark law now in force

Trade mark owners and licensees should consider taking advice on the effect of changes to the law on their trade marks or trade mark portfolios.

The changes came into force on 14 January 2019 and will continue to apply whatever the results of the UK’s Brexit negotiations.… Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 3:00 pm

Case law: Staff can be ’employees’ even if they have sometimes substituted another to do their work

Employers should check whether staff they do not consider to be employees because they can substitute others to do their work, are in fact employees because their right of substitution is limited, following a recent ruling.

The nephew of an elderly man paid for a live-in carer for him for three years.… Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 2:58 pm

New service: New online service to help employers carry out ‘right to work’ checks

A new online service allows employers to carry out ‘right to work’ checks for certain employees from outside the European Economic Area, rather than having to physically see and check actual documents.

The new service came into effect on 28 January 2019 and initially only applies to:

  • Non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who hold biometric residence permits (BRPs) or biometric residence cards
  • EEA nationals with settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

The EEA comprises the EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.… Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 2:57 pm

Case law: Court confirms that ‘agreement to agree’ in a contract is unenforceable

Parties negotiating contracts should ensure no clauses in the final contract are mere ‘agreements to agree’, as the courts will refuse to uphold them.

A shareholder (the ‘seller’) sold all the shares in his limited company. Part of the payment to him was a four-year earn-out, ie an amount which depended on the performance of the business over a four-year period after the sale.… Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 2:56 pm

Case law: Misrepresenting your costs in contract negotiations can result in the other party rescinding the contract

Parties negotiating a contract and tempted to over-estimate their costs as a negotiating tactic could lead to a successful claim against them for fraudulent misrepresentation, and rescission of the contract, a recent ruling makes clear.

A Dutch supplier agreed to provide dried egg products to a company in the USA. … Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 2:55 pm

Case law: Court clarifies when terms will be implied into a commercial agreement

Parties negotiating an agreement should ensure it is comprehensive and clearly and unambiguously expressed, to avoid disputes about what it means and whether additional terms should be implied into it, as a recent case clarifies.

Under an agreement to set up a new business, Z paid a deposit of $1m to D, which was refundable if their proposed collaboration did not go ahead.… Read more

Posted on 31 January 2019 | 2:54 pm