Guest blog
Employment Law: What to look out for in 2020

employment law Emma Burrows, Partner at Trowers & Hamlins, is a highly respected lawyer and workshop leader at Strategic People conference on Thursday 12 March 2020.

Emma’s workshop will focus on diversity, asking if age is the protected characteristic that people forget about. The session will allow delegates to discuss how each generation is shaped and influenced by slightly different cultures and events. The workshop will also look at some common legal pitfalls regarding age discrimination and how to minimise the risk to your organisation.

Strategic People 2020 delegates can take advantage of the opportunity to quiz Emma about all legal aspects at the conference.

Emma’s blog looking forward into 2020 was originally published on Trowers & Hamlins’ Insights page and here were cover some of the key elements.


2020 promises to be a year of significant change, and employment law is no exception! This April sees the introduction of a raft of new legislation, while the Queen’s Speech heralded a couple of new bills on employment and immigration, and the advent of a national disability strategy.


April 2020

Written statement of terms for workers

The government is introducing the Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 on 6 April 2020. These provide that a written statement of terms must be given to workers as well as employees, on or before the first day of employment. It will apply to all new joiners on or after 6 April 2020.

Changes to reference period for calculating holiday pay

The Working Time Regulations 1998 will be changed to make the reference period for determining an average week’s pay (for the purposes of calculating holiday pay) from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, or, if the worker has been employed for less than 52 weeks, the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been employed.

The changes to the holiday pay reference period will apply to periods of holiday from 6 April onwards.

Agency workers

The Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019 come into force on 6 April 2020.  They will remove the “Swedish Derogation” from the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (this currently allows employment businesses to avoid pay parity between agency workers and direct employees if certain conditions are met).

From 6 April 2020, the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2019 will require temporary work agencies to provide agency work seekers with a Key Information Document, including information on the type of contract, the minimum expected rate of pay, how they will be paid and by whom.


The Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech, which was delivered at the opening of Parliament on 19 December 2019, set out details of the legislation that the government intends to carry over into, or introduce in, the new Parliamentary session.


Employment Bill

The government proposes to introduce a new Employment Bill which will comprise the following measures:

  • A single enforcement body

This comes out of the Good Work Plan in which the government announced proposals for a single labour market enforcement agency to ensure that vulnerable workers are aware of and can exercise their rights.  It has already been the subject of a government consultation.

  • Tips to go to workers in full
  • The right to request a more predictable contract

The Bill will introduce a right for all workers to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service as part of the Good Work Plan. This is focused on gig and zero hours workers.

  • Extending redundancy protection to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination

Currently employees made redundant on maternity leave have the right to alternative employment over competing colleagues. The government will extend the period of redundancy protection from the point an employee notifies their employer of their pregnancy until six months after the end of their maternity leave.

  • A new right to neonatal leave and pay

The government has already carried out a consultation (which closed on 11 October 2019) on a new right to neonatal leave and pay to support parents of premature or sick babies.

  • Flexible working

The government intends, subject to consultation, to make flexible working the default position unless an employer has a good reason not to grant such an arrangement.

  • A week’s leave for unpaid carers

Introduction of a national disability strategy

The government plans to introduce a different approach to disability following the consultation, ‘Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss’. Which closed on 7 October 2019.

The government aims to reduce the disabled employment gap and to reach the existing goal of an increase of one million disabled people on work between 2017 and 2027.


Good Work Plan

There have been consultations over the last 12 months looking at how to structure the workforce of the future, and it is likely that some of these will make their way into law in 2020.


You can read the full blog here.


Don’t miss Emma Burrows’ workshop ‘Diversity: Is age the protected characteristic that people forget about?’ at Strategic People 2020.

Book your place now.


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