What employment law changes will affect Durham businesses in 2020?


A new year means new employment laws, and there are one or two changes which could catch businesses out. Alison Schreiber from The HR Dept Durham shares a rundown of the employment law changes which are going to affect local businesses in 2020.

Alison explained: “As part of the last government’s Good Work Plan, we’ll see several technical changes to employment law relevant to any business which hires permanent, temporary or freelance workers. It’s essential to know what these are and implement them, as failing to do so could expose you to a tribunal almost as soon as a working relationship begins.

“The biggest change concerns the issuing of employment contracts. As things stand you only have to do this for employees, and you have eight weeks from employment commencing to do it. From 6 April, the contract must be issued on or before day one, and to people of any worker status, not just employees.

“Moreover, the contract must detail: any benefits provided; any training requirements; pay terms; any paid or statutory leave; and sickness absence terms.”

Businesses should already be complying with new laws inspired by the Good Work Plan. Specifically, that all people on the payroll – not just full-time employees – should be receiving itemised payslips.
Alison adds: “Further changes are being introduced on 6 April. The reference period for calculating holiday pay for people who work irregular hours is being extended from 12 to 52 weeks. Employers will have to record employees’ complete working time (including overtime) across the year. And Swedish Derogation contracts are being outlawed: these allowed employers to avoid paying agency workers on a par with full time staff after 12 weeks’ work.

“The default break in continuity of service (except where legislation or local agreements say otherwise) is rising from one to four weeks. We’ll also see the introduction of bereavement leave in April, although the exact date hasn’t been confirmed. So, there’s a lot for Durham businesses to digest. Seek advice if you are unsure.”

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