The new year and a new government. What’s on the horizon for employers in 2020?

What does your business have to do to ensure you meet your obligations from an HR perspective?

1.  Undertake Brexit workforce planning

Now that the withdrawal agreement has passed the vote in the House of Commons and Brexit is due to go ahead on 31 January 2020, there is slightly less uncertainty for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their employers. Following Brexit, there will be a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which EEA nationals will still be able to come and work in the UK.

Businesses should ensure that all your EEA workers obtain settled or pre-settled status, to enable them to stay at the end of the transition period. Currently EEA nationals who are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to make an application.

You should also prepare for the new immigration system that will be in place after the transition period. The Migration Advisory Commission expect to release a report January, having considered options for a new points-based system.

If you have not already done so, you should carry out an audit of your workforce and consider where there may be staffing issues if you currently rely on EEA nationals.

2. National minimum wage and other statutory rate increases

The rates for the national minimum wage will increase on 1 April 2020. The national living wage rate, for workers aged 25 and over, will increase from £8.21 to £8.72

3.  Amend policies to include parental bereavement leave and pay

The right to parental bereavement leave and pay is expected to come into force in April 2020. The right will allow parents of a child under the age of 18 who has died to take two weeks’ leave. It will be available to the birth parents or those with parental responsibility for the child and can be taken within 56 weeks of the child’s death, in a block of two weeks, or two blocks of one week.

4.  Comply with the new rules on written statements of particulars

From 6 April 2020, employers must provide a written statement of employment particulars to all workers, not just to employees. Employers will no longer have two months within which to provide the statement – most of the information must be provided in a single document by the start of employment.

5.  Change how you calculate holiday pay for workers with irregular hours

The reference period for calculating holiday pay for workers who do not work regular hours will increase from 12 to 52 weeks on 6 April 2020. The purpose is to  prevent workers missing out on holiday pay if they take their annual leave in the 12 weeks after a quiet period.

Employers will need to pay workers without normal hours their average weekly pay, calculated over the previous year, rather than the previous 12 weeks.