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HR changes you need to implement by April 2020

Posted on: 31st Jan 2020 by: Dêmos HR Solutions

With the festive season now seeming like a distant memory we turn our attention to the forthcoming HR changes coming into effect in 2020. Below we highlight the main issues to be aware of and what may need to be acted upon in the coming months, many of which you’ll need to implement before 6th April:  

 

BREXIT – THE IMPACT ON WORKERS’ IMMIGRATION RIGHTS

Following the general election it is very likely that the UK will depart from the EU on 31 January 2020. Immigration is likely to be high on people’s agendas with a new Australian-style points-based immigration system expected to be introduced. The details around this are to be confirmed but it is expected that the new system will include three separate categories: exceptional talent, skilled workers and a sector specific rules-based category. There will also be new visas including a fast-track scheme for NHS employees.

 

Whilst there are still a number of unknowns in regard to the final details, upfront planning and reviewing contingency and recruitment arrangements is advised. The priority being ensuring current EEA employees have applied under the settled status scheme which continues to operate and will enable EU citizens already living in the UK to apply for settlement indefinitely. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021. In the event of a no-deal Brexit – the application deadline for the scheme is 31 December 2020.

 

FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS ON IR35

Responsibility for determining the tax status of workers who supply their personal services via an intermediary, is expected to transfer to the end user for medium and large private sector organisations from 6 April 2020.

At the beginning of January, the Treasury announced it would review the rollout of the controversial tax plan which aims to prevent workers from disguising themselves as freelance contractors as a way to pay less tax. HMRC has stated that it will be continuing its preparations to roll out the reforms in April come what may.

If you currently use contract and freelance labour through intermediaries, you should monitor the progression of the changes and continue planning for the IR35 reform until the Government’s intentions become clear.

 

CHANGES TO WRITTEN STATEMENT OF TERMS REQUIREMENTS

The requirement to provide written statement of terms will be extended to all workers and employees engaged on or after 6 April 2020. Currently employers have up to two months to issue the statement to any employee working for them for more than a month, but this will become a day one right. Additional terms must also be incorporated including:

  • working pattern
  • entitlement to paid leave
  • probationary period and its length
  • any mandatory training provided by the employer.

 

Employers should start to review and update their current written terms ahead of 6th April to ensure that all the required information is included in readiness. Also consider putting procedures in place as part of the recruitment process to ensure documentation is issued on or before the first day at work. There is also a possibility that current employees will exercise their right to request updated written terms to include the additional information.

 

WORKPLACE HARASSMENT

The EHRC recently published new guidance for employers on sexual harassment and other forms of harassment in the workplace which sets out best practice and examples on how to tackle and respond effectively. It is also expected that a new Code of Practice on harassment will be published in 2020, reflecting the Government’s collation of evidence on the most effective employer interventions to prevent workplace harassment.

 

Given the continued focus on harassment claims and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), it is recommended to review the effectiveness of current harassment policies, training and grievance procedures.

 

CHANGES TO LIVING AND MINIMUM WAGE

Changes are coming to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) on 1st April 2020. The Conservative party has also pledged to increase NLW to two thirds of average earnings, currently forecast to be £10.50 per hour. The increases in minimum wage rates for 2020 are as follows:

 

  • Under 18 - rises from £4.35 to £4.55 per hour (4.6%)
  • 18-20 - rises from £6.15 to £6.45 per hour (4.9%)
  • 21-24 – rises from £7.70 to £8.20 per hour (6.5%)
  • 25 and over - rises from £8.21 to £8.72 per hour (6.2%)
  • Apprentice- rises from £3.90 to £4.5 (6.4%)

 

Employers should ensure workforce planning incorporates the expected changes, assess payroll and make changes accordingly. With many employers failing to appreciate the complex rules around the statutory minimum wage and HMRC’s enforcement action continuing to rise, senior managment should be trained about the rules to avoid breaches.

 

DÊMOS HR SOLUTIONS ARE HERE TO HELP

At Dêmos HR Solutions, we can provide a range of services and support to businesses who need to implement these changes ahead of the government deadline. If you would also like a no obligation discussion to air your concerns and find out about our one-off project costs, please email debbie@demoshr.co.uk or call 07974 695 365. Alternatively, complete our enquiry form to find out how your business can benefit from HR support.

Tags: The Good Work Plan, IR35, Minimum Wage, Living Wage, Employee Contracts,