With all the excitement surrounding Brexit and the General Election, it can be easy to lose track of proposed legal changes which will affect all employers and employees in the new year. With this in mind, we’ve highlighted a few key areas which you should be aware of.
Parental BEREAVEMENT LEAVE
Current legislation creates a statutory right to time off work for employed parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18.
Government proposals for changes to The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018, will see the definition of ‘bereaved parent’ extended to include all legal parents, as well as those who had a parental relationship with the child which is not recognised in law. For example, legal guardians and individuals who have obtained a court order giving them day to day responsibility for caring for the child, would have a legal right to time off work.
Approximately 100,000 babies each year are admitted to neonatal care in the UK.
Under new plans, neonatal care leave and pay is being proposed for the parents of premature babies and those whose newborn require specialist neonatal care of 2 weeks or more. This is likely to be one weeks leave for every week the baby is in neonatal care and would likely to be added to the end of maternity or paternity leave.
In addition to the biological mother and father, these rights are likely to be extended to the mothers spouse or civil partner, or the partner living with the mother and newborn in a family relationship. The intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement may also be afforded this right.
ZERO HOURS PROTECTION
Zero hours contracts have been subject to wide spread criticism in some quarters, most notably in their ability to reduce income security and increase the unpredictability of the work schedule for those employed under such terms.
To counter this, the Low Pay Commission recommend the every individual should have the right to reasonable and recordable notice of their work timetable and to not suffer any detrimental consequences as a result of turning work down when offered at short notice. Although, some flexibility may be offered to the employer dependant upon the nature of the industry, there are proposals for penalties to be in place for those in charge who do not adhere to the guidelines of reasonable notice.
SECTION ONE STATEMENTS
From April 2020, it is proposed that workers will have a ‘day one right’ to a written statement of employment (section 1 statement) rather than the right to receive one within 2 months of starting, as it currently stands. The aim is to increase clarity in terms of their role and workers may have the right to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal should the employer fail in their obligation.
The following information should be included as a starting point within the section 1 statement:
- length of time the job is expected to last
- notice period
- sick leave and pay eligibility
- other rights to leave
- probationary period (if any)
- pay and benefits
- working days and hours
MENOPAUSE IN THE WORKPLACE
Davies v The Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service was a 2018 case which saw the symptoms of the menopause accepted as being a disability under the Equality Act 2010 and where the claimant was found to be discriminated against for a reason arising out of that disability and unfairly dismissed. Ms Davies was awarded almost £20,000 and the ordered to be reinstated to her role.
Recommendations in place for the new year will require the creation of a menopausal policy, detailing the support and working environment changes to aid those affected by the menopause.
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