UK employment law changes for 2020

Feb 24 | 2020

2020 sees some refinement in UK employment law of which employers need to be aware. Here, Jo Trimarco of JT HRConsultancy Ltd tells you all you need to know.

Jo TrimarcoExtension of the right to a written statement to all workers

From 6 April, 2020, employers must give all workers (not just employees) a written statement of particulars from their first day of employment. This is a change from the current position under which employers must issue the statement to employees within their first two months of employment. Employers should begin to prepare the statements at the recruitment stage, ensuring that all the required content is included. Should this not be given on or before the workers first day, they may make a claim to a Tribunal.

Following the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) you must ensure you have robust and reliable ways to manage all the communications required during the onboarding phase for all new workers.

Employment Law Breaches

The legislation changes in 2020 include tougher penalties for companies found to have breached employment law. This includes the maximum penalty being raised from £5,000 to £20,000 and a new ‘naming and shaming’ approach to employers that fail to pay tribunal awards.

Parental bereavement leave rights take effect

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 will come into force on 6 April, 2020. This will entitle employees to a period of leave following the death of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to paid leave at the statutory rate and other employees will be entitled to unpaid leave.

Increase in the holiday pay reference period from 12 weeks to 52 weeks

The reference period for the purpose of calculating holiday pay for workers with irregular hours will change from 12 to 52 weeks. From 6 April, 2020, employers will need to look back over the past 52 weeks, discarding any weeks that a worker did not earn pay, to calculate their average weekly pay.

IR35 changes for the private sector

Reforms to the intermediaries legislation (IR35) in the public sector are due to be extended to medium and large private-sector employers from 6 April, 2020. Responsibility for determining if IR35 applies to independent contractors will shift to the organisation engaging the individual. The rules are aimed at reducing tax avoidance for off-payroll contractors employed via personal service companies. Employers should review the contracts and pay arrangements for their contractors to determine how the new rules will affect them.


Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to 31 January, 2020, employers should continue to keep up to date with developments. Please ensure you have taken steps to write to employees who are European Economic Area (EEA) nationals to urge them to apply for settled or pre-settled status, so that they can remain living and working in the UK indefinitely.

Jo Trimarco

Jo Trimarco (MCIPD) is the founder and director of JT HRConsultancy Ltd and has over 18 years of HR experience specialising in small to mid-size companies including, IT software, leisure, manufacturing, charity and recruitment.  Her broad experience includes employee relations, company restructuring, policy and procedure development, training and HR audits.

Photo: Jo Trimarco