A Settlement Agreement is a legally binding contract between an employee and an employer under which the employee agrees to waive their right to make employment related claims against their employer.
The new year brings with it a perfect opportunity to review your employment contracts, documents, policies and procedures. This is especially pertinent as the government announced several changes to laws governing the employer/employee relationship scheduled to come into force this year.
The government have increased the reference period for determining an employee’s average week’s pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. This change has been put into place in order to improve holiday pay for seasonal workers.
Employers should ensure that they keep a record of each of their employee’s pay for the 52 weeks prior to 6 April 2020 and continue to do so thereafter. Employers should also review their policies and procedures and update any which refer to this calculation.
Statement of terms
At present, a written statement of the terms of their employment must be provided within two months of the start of their employment to all employees who are to be employed for more than one month.
From 6 April 2020, both employees and workers must be provided with the written statement of terms on or before their first day of employment regardless of their length of employment.
In addition to the current information which the statement of terms must contain, the following must also be included from 6 April 2020:
- The days of the week that the worker is required to work, whether the working hours may be variable and how any variation will be determined;
- Any paid leave to which the worker is entitled e.g. maternity or paternity leave;
- Details of any other benefits provided by the employer e.g. health insurance, childcare vouchers;
- Details of any probationary period, including any conditions and its duration; and
- Any training entitlement provided by the employer, including whether any training is mandatory and/or must be paid for by the worker.
Employers should therefore review their current contracts of employment or statement of terms to ensure that they contain all of the compulsory information. Employers should also have a procedure in place to ensure that all the relevant documentation is provided to a new employee or worker on or before their first day of employment.
From 6 April 2020, existing employees can also request an updated statement of terms from their employer. This must be provided to the employee within one month of their request.
Parental bereavement leave
From 6 April 2020, employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy, will be entitled to two weeks’ leave. The leave can be taken at the same time, or split into two periods of one week but the leave must be taken within 56 days from the date of the child’s death. This right will apply to all employees irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer. The UK will be the first country in the world to have this legal right.
Employers will need to review their bereavement leave policies to ensure that they reflect this recent change.
Our Employment Team can help employers ensure their documentation is compliant with the current UK laws. For further advice please contact our Employment Team.