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Employment Law Update: November 2019

Accessing useful information about any employment law changes and how they affect you can be difficult – the good news is that we at People Puzzles always have the foresight on this and have experts on hand to help businesses to review their policies and procedure to ensure they’re staying compliant with the law and don’t get caught short. Below are two key updates:

The Queens Speech and the ‘Good to Work Plan’

The Queen’s Speech took place on 14 October 2019 which pledged to ‘continue to deliver on the commitments set out in the Good Work Plan, ensuring that our employment practices keep pace with modern ways of working’.  Taylor Vinters outlined the main proposals in the Good Work Plan last year.

They include:

  1. Legislation to ‘improve the clarity of the employment status tests’.
  2. Zero-hours contract workers will have the right to request ‘a more stable and predictable’ contract after six months’ service.
  3. A written statement of employment rights will be a day-one right for both employees and workers.
  4. The holiday pay reference period will be extended from 12 to 52 weeks.
  5. Harsher penalties in the employment tribunals for employers who flout the rules; raised from £5,000 to £20,000.

Looking further ahead, the speech also described the Pensions Scheme Bill which will provide ‘more options for employers to support their employees’ as well as ‘greater powers for the Pensions Regulator to tackle irresponsible management of private pension schemes’.

It also detailed an Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill, which would legally oblige employers to pass on all tips, gratuities and service charges to workers without deductions and follow a statutory Code of Practice when distributing tips.

Its important to note that as the Queen’s Speech took place before the election was contemplated, the plans of whichever government ends up in office may well differ.

UK Immigration Rules in October

October saw some changes to the UK Immigration Rules, particularly around the UK Shortage Occupation List (SOL) that affects around 2.5 million workers in the UK. Roles have been added to this list, including engineers, IT analysts, software and web developers, graphic designers, architects, biological scientists, nurses and vets. Being on the SOL means the employer does not have to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and these jobs are exempt from the £35,000 minimum salary threshold for settlement. They also have lower visa fees. See the full list.

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