Changes to Employment Law

Monday 6th April signified the start of the 2020/2021 tax year, and along with that came a set of new employment law guidance for both employers and employees.

Discrimination compensation

If you are forced to leave your job due to discrimination you may be entitled to compensation in the same way as if you had been dismissed. In addition, a tribunal may award compensation for ‘injury to feelings’.  Injury to feelings payments fall into three bands and follow what are commonly known as the Vento guidelines. New Vento bands have been released for claims on or after 6th April 2020:

The lowest band is £900 to £9,000
The middle band is £9,000 to £27,000
The upper band is £27,000 to £45,000

These figures are guidelines and tribunals are not bound by them. There is no upper limit for injury to feelings compensation and in exceptional cases, particularly where discrimination has been long running, individuals may receive substantial awards. For more information on discrimination in the workplace visit our employment pages.

‘Jack’s Law’ parental bereavement leave

In a world-first, working parents who have lost a child (under 18 years old) will be entitled to two weeks’ leave, irrespective of their length of service. Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of  two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week, each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This means they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or over the first anniversary.

Written statement of terms

An amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996 has been made to ensure employers provide a written statement of terms on or before the first day of employment, rather than within two months of employment starting. The amount of information that must be included in the statement has increased, and the right to a written statement has been extended to include workers, as well as employees.

As a minimum, the statement must include:

  • how much and how often an employee or worker will get paid
  • hours and days of work and how they may vary
  • holiday entitlement
  • location of the work
  • how long any probation period is and what its conditions are
  • any other benefits provided

Calculating holiday pay

There has been an increase in the period for determining an average week’s pay (for holiday pay purposes) from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. If the worker has been employed for less than 52 weeks, the pay is calculated on number of complete weeks for which the worker has been employed.

This change is to ensure workers whose hours fluctuate over the year (such as seasonal variations) are not losing out.

Abolishing ‘Swedish derogation’

The ‘Swedish derogation’ was a regulation under which agencies could avoid paying agency workers the same rate of pay as direct employees, provided the workers were paid between assignments. This has now been abolished, meaning ALL agency workers have the right to the same pay as their directly employed colleagues after 12 weeks. Agencies must inform all workers of this change in writing by 30 April 2020.

Temporary work agencies must also now provide agency workers with a Key Information Document, including information on the type of contract, the minimum expected rate of pay, how they will be paid and by whom.

If you have any questions about the changes to employment law and how they might affect you or your business, please contact our employment law expert Ellie Humphris on

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

Like this article? Share it!