The Good Work Plan: Employment Law changes for April 2020 & beyond

The Good Work Plan: Employment Law changes for April 2020 and beyond

‘…the biggest shake-up of employment law in a generation.’

In response to the massive growth in self-employment and casual working arrangements, the government‘s Good Work Plan is an extensive programme of employment law reforms.

Significantly for Scottish Care members, the changes don’t seek to restrict flexibility for employers, as this is seen as crucial for business. However, they aim to provide greater clarity on the terms of engagement and make it easier for individuals to understand and enforce their rights.

April 6 2020 is when many of the changes will come into effect. However, Citation’s research in 2019 indicated that one-third of employers are still unaware of the Good Work Plan, and many do not feel prepared.

Every single sector in the UK will be affected, but the care sector will be hugely impacted due to the prevalence of flexible work.

Defining employment status

The key issue at the heart of the Good Work Plan reforms is that of correctly identifying the employment status of those individuals who work for your care business, as employment rights are governed by this.

The government has conceded that this is an area of unacceptable uncertainty and has promised legislation to clarify this, though there is no sign of this on the horizon.

One of the reasons this is so key for those in the care sector is that many employers may find that individuals start working for them on a casual basis but, through regular use, become integrated with the business – to such an extent that they would be classed as employees, and therefore the additional rights this entails.

So what do Scottish Care members need to know?

Many people currently working in the care sector will be doing so without a stable contract, with their hours varying week by week.

A key focus area of the Good Work Plan is seeking to address employment rights for workers without fixed hours, and those working without employee status.

The reforms aim to improve the enforcement of employment rights (especially holiday entitlement and pay), by introducing state enforcement of these rights for ‘vulnerable workers’ (yet to be defined). Over recent years, the rules about what should be included in holiday pay have changed through a series of court decisions on overtime and commission payments.

The Good Work Plan also aspire to improve clarity in terms, for both employees and those workers who have a more casual relationship with the business. It will extend the right to a statutory statement of main terms to all workers, requiring this to be made available by the first day of work, as well as introducing a list of additional information which must be provided.

One of the biggest changes set out in the reforms is allowing some workers the right to request a stable contract. This will not be mandatory, meaning that those who are happy to work varied hours each week will be able to continue doing so. However, from April 2020, carers who would like more certainty about their hours will be able to request a fixed working pattern from their employer.

The Good Work Plan itself is complicated and confusing. Managers and employers in the social care sector wanting to know more should download the white paper, produced by HR and employment law experts and preferred supplier, Citation. It clarifies all the major changes and what they mean for both employers and employees.

If my business employs agency staff, what does this mean for me?

Under the Agency Worker Regulations 2010, a company hiring agency workers has to give them the same basic pay and conditions as its own comparable employees after they’ve been with them for 12 weeks.   The ‘Swedish derogation’, so called because it was requested by the Swedish government, was put into EU law.  This created a special type of agency contract, officially named “pay between assignments” contract, where the agency workers gave up the right to have the same pay after 12 weeks, in return for a guarantee that they would receive a certain amount of pay when they have gaps between assignments.  However, the Swedish derogation type of agency contract has now been abolished from today’s date, i.e. 6 April 2020.  Accordingly, all agency workers have to have the same basic pay and conditions as comparable employees after 12 weeks.

From 6 April, employment agencies will need to provide agency workers with a document called a “Key Facts Page”. This document will need to include details such as type of contract, rate of pay, details of any deductions that may be taken out of their pay, method of payment, if the agency worker is paid through an intermediary and an estimate or example of what their take-home pay will be after deductions.

Got any questions about how you’ll be affected?

Call Citation’s friendly experts today on 0345 844 1111 to ask any questions you have about The Good Work Plan, or get in touch herejust mention you’re a Scottish Care member when enquiring.

For further content that breaks down the different aspects of The Good Work Plan, visit citation.co.uk/good-work-plan and read Citation’s guidance and best practice advice on the changes.

Your Scottish Care member benefit – Citation’s HR & Employment Law support

With complex legislation change on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to consider getting the complete backing of HR experts.

Scottish Care members are also entitled to preferential rates on Citation’s HR offering, including:

  • Dedicated local consultant
  • 24-hour expert advice line
  • Full legal documentation, including staff handbooks and contracts of employment
  • Access to Atlas, your one-stop-shop HR management tool

Please get in touch by calling 0345 844 1111, or by leaving your details here – just mention you’re a Scottish Care member when enquiring.

Useful resources and guides

Here are some popular relevant resources that are free-to-access from Citation :

Citation’s complete archive of free guides and resources can be accessed here.