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Is Your University Prepared for New Changes to Employment Law?

on Wednesday, 29 January 2020.

On 6 April 2020, several significant changes to employment law will come into effect. We have outlined key changes to the law which universities need to be aware of, and further developments later in the year.

Particulars of Employment

Additional requirements in relation to the written terms of employment staff are provided with will take effect on 6 April 2020. Most universities will include these terms in a contract of employment.

The main points to note are that:

  • Universities should ensure that the information is provided on or before the first day of work.
  • It is not just employees who have the right to these written particulars - the right applies to all workers. Review your processes to make sure that casual members of staff receive the particulars of employment as well as full employees of the university.
  • Additional requirements should be included in contractual documents. You should ensure that these documents are reviewed thoroughly, and that they include information on:

- the days of the week the individual is required to work (if these are variable how they will be determined?)

- any paid leave to which the worker is entitled

- details of any benefits provided by the employer

- any probationary period, including any conditions and its duration

- any training entitlement provided by the employer, including whether any training is mandatory and/or must be paid for by the worker

Bereavement Leave

From 6 April 2020, a new statutory right will be introduced allowing for two weeks' leave for parents who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy. This will be paid at a flat statutory rate (the same rate as statutory paternity pay) for employees with 26 weeks' service (and qualifying earnings). Although your university may already provide similar support to employees, you should ensure that a consistent approach is taken with regards to how this ties in with existing policies you have in place, such as family-friendly leave, compassionate leave, and absence policies.

National Living Wage

On 6 April 2020, the National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over will increase from £8.21 to £8.72 per hour, with corresponding increases to the National Minimum Wage for younger workers.

 Although 6 April may fall outside of your university's usual pay review period, you must ensure that all workers paid below this rate has their pay reviewed to take effect on this date, to comply with the new increases.

More to Come?

Following on from the recommendations of Matthew Taylor and the Good Work Plan, the government is determined to deliver a plethora of employment law developments. The Queen's Speech in December also indicated a range of additional employment law protections that we may see in an Employment Bill 2020. We will review any additional developments which would have implications for the Higher Education sector and will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

For further information on any of these topics, contact Jane Byford in our Employment Law team on 0121 227 3712, or complete the form below.