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ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED January 2019

THE GOOD WORK PLAN

Its been several years since the Government have made any significant changes to employment law. Following the publication of the Taylor report which investigated the increasing use of new forms of employment relationships, such as, zero hours, agency working ,self- employment; and concerns about its’ abuse.

Initially there was a view that there would be legislation to ban zero hours contracts, and severely restrict agency use, but the Taylor report revealed that casual and zero hours arrangements are used very positively by both employers and employees in many cases. The Government are proposing to tighten up on the rules and to try to eliminate abuses rather than outlaw them. There are clearly concerns that the relationship can be one sided and concerns about shifts being cancelled at short notice or staff being sent home because it’s quiet.

The Government published “The Good Work Plan “in December 2018. It included a number of proposals for changes to Employment Law which will impact on salon owners.

The statutory instruments to turn the proposals into law were published the day after so you might hear of the “Employment rights Amendment Regulations 2018”.

The key proposals include:

Currently employees have to have a contract or statement of particulars within 2 months of taking up post. It is proposed that by April 2020 employees will be entitled to know the main terms of their employment on day one. The list of items to be included in the document has been extended from the current legal minimum to include details of family leave and pay entitlements, any probationary period, and all remuneration (not just pay).

This might be an administrative burdensome for Salon owners but it makes sense that employees know the main terms of employment when they start work rather than discovering the small print up to 2 months after they have been in post. Interestingly the right is extended to workers as well as employees. I am assuming staff will be given their contracts before they start or on day 1.

Currently where staff have a break in service of one week they are seen as having a break in their continuous service. Many employment rights are based on length of service. It’s easy to see how using a one week break can exclude staff, particularly zero hours staff, from some employment rights. The proposal is that the length of the break will be increased to 4 weeks. Therefore a break of under 4 weeks will not affect an employee’s continuous service.

There is a proposal that the calculation of holiday pay will change in cases where employees have variable hours. Currently if an employee is casual, or on zero hours, or when their hours change regularly; when they take a weeks’ holiday they are paid based on their average hours over the previous 12 weeks. The proposal is that the calculation will be based on the previous 52 weeks (or number of weeks worked if less than 52). Once again this will create some work for salon owners introducing a system to provide this information.

There will be legislation to streamline the employment status tests. Currently an Employment Tribunal can decide if someone is an employee or worker for employment purposes, whereas, HMRC have a different test for tax assessment. The intention is there will be a single assessment for employment and tax purposes. Once again this seems a positive action and will reduce any confusion as to whether someone is self- employed or not.

There will be a ban on employers making deductions from staff tips.

The Swedish Derogation will be abolished by April 2020, this applies to Agency workers. Under the Agency workers regulations after 12 weeks working for an employer an agency worker is entitled to the same pay and conditions as permanent staff. However under the Swedish derogation the worker has a contract with the agency rather than the host employer and the rule can be sidestepped ie it gives employers the ability to avoid paying agency staff the same as its employees.

Employers who don't pay Employment Tribunal awards will be named and shamed.

After 26 weeks employment, an employee will be able to request a fixed working pattern or more regular hours. There is little detail of the process or what happens if the request is refused. The existing parallel might be the current right to request flexible working.

Of course, we have to wait and see what the eventual legislation looks like but quite a few of these changes will directly impact on salons.



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