Mon 23 Dec 2019

New Legislation, Guidance & Consultations - January 2020

The Queen's Speech promises a new Employment Bill in this parliamentary session.

Now the dust has settled on the General Election we know that a new Employment Bill is to be introduced in this Parliamentary session.  The Employment Bill's key features are:-

  • creating a new single labour market enforcement body
  • ensuring tips and service charges go to workers in full
  • introducing the right to request more predictable contracts
  • extending redundancy protections to help prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination
  • introducing extended leave for neonatal care
  • introducing an entitlement to one week's leave for unpaid carers
  • making flexible working the default position unless employers have a good reason not to (subject to consultation)

In addition, the Queen's Speech indicated that legislation is to be introduced to reduce disruption caused by rail strikes. The UK Government's intention is to require a minimum level of service during strike action to ensure that the public are not disproportionately affected by rail strikes.

The Information Commissioners Office has been busy with newly published  guidance and a consultation.  The consultation is on draft right of access (subject access) guidance which includes more detail on the rights of individuals to access personal data and the obligations of data controllers.  Views given will inform the final version of the guidance. 

The first of the two newly published pieces of guidance is for SMEs and includes FAQs, hot topics for small businesses and an assessment for small businesses who just want to check how they are getting on.  The second piece of guidance is on special category data. It is aimed at those with specific data protection responsibilities in larger organisations and deals with special categories of data including genetic, biometric, health and criminal offence data. 

HMRC has updated its employment status tool for tax and new guidance has also been added to the employment status manual.  The calculator has been under review partially in anticipation of the extension of off payroll working rules to the private sector.  HMRC says that provided the tool is used correctly and there are no tax planning arrangements then it will stand by the status answer the tool produces. 

BEIS has published new holiday entitlement guidance on calculating statutory holiday entitlement for workers on different types of contract.  It is intended to be a practical guide for employers to accompany the holiday entitlement calculator which has also been revised.  The guidance states that workers who do not have a regular working pattern should still have their holiday entitlement calculated in weeks.  The new calculator calculates holiday entitlement in terms of the number of weeks as a proportion of the 5.6 week annual entitlement.

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