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    Jack’s Law and other significant employment law reforms in April 2020 – are you ready?

    Jack’s Law and other significant employment law reforms in April 2020 – are you ready?

    In an announcement certain to be welcomed from all quarters, the Government confirmed today that, subject to Parliamentary approval, the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations or as it is more widely referred to, “Jack’s Law” (in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy campaigned for mandatory leave for grieving parents) will take effect from April 6th 2020.

    Once in force the Regulations will provide a statutory right to a minimum of 2 weeks’ statutory parental bereavement leave (SPBL) for all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer (i.e. it is a ‘day one’ employment right). Parents will be permitted to take the leave as either a single block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each taken at different times during 56 weeks after their child’s death. This means they can match their leave to the times they need it most, including the first anniversary of the child’s death.

    Parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service and weekly average earnings over the lower earnings limit (£118 per week for 2019/20) will also be entitled to statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP), paid at the rate of £148.68 per week (for 2019/20), or 90% of average weekly earnings if this is lower.

    As well as birth parents, the entitlement will be available to adults with parental responsibility, for example: adoptive parents, individuals who are fostering to adopt, legal guardians; and many foster parents, although emergency foster care may not be covered.

    Other significant changes to employment law that will come into force on 6 April 2020

    Written Terms

    Currently, as an employer you have up to 2 months from the date an employee/worker starts work with you for you to provide them with a written statement of their terms and conditions. As of 6 April 2020, all staff will be entitled to a written statement of terms on or before the first day of employment. This right will apply to both employees and workers.

    A week’s pay

    The reference period to determine an average week’s pay for holiday purposes will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks (or the length of employment if less than 52 weeks). This will mean that staff whose hours vary greatly don’t lose out if they take their holiday at a quiet time of the year when their weekly pay may be lower.

    Contents of contracts

    A contract of employment must contain the following additional information about the terms and conditions of employment:

    • Normal working hours, including the times of the week when the employee/worker is required to work, whether these hours or days may be variable and, if so, how they may vary.
    • Any benefits other than pay that the employee/worker is entitled to, including non-monetary benefits such as vouchers or meals.
    • Any probationary period, including the duration and any conditions.
    • Sick pay entitlement.
    • Details of any other paid leave such as maternity leave and paternity leave.
    • Any training to be provided and details of any mandatory training that the employee/worker must complete.
     

    The changes to section 1 statements set out above will only apply to those starting work on or after 6 April 2020, unless, any existing employee's particulars are changed after this time, in which case the additional information will need to be provided at that point in time.

    If any of the above imminent changes sparks a question in your mind then please do not hesitate to contact one of the Employment Law Team – no one wants to be an April fool!

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