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Top 3 Employment Law Trends To Look Out For In 2020

The start of a new year usually brings optimism, business planning, strategic marketing, and is usually the start of a strong sales period for many businesses. But while your employees are working away, have you stepped back and taken notice of some of the new changes to employment law that are swooping in this year? There’s a lot going on in the employment law sector, but here are just a few of the things you might have missed:

Veganism is Protected

The changes started early this year, with a landmark case breaking on just the 3rd of January. According to the results of an employment tribunal, ethical veganism should now be protected under discrimination law.

To clarify, in order for a belief to be protected under the Equality Act 2010, it must meet several tests, including being worthy of respect in democratic society, being compatible with human dignity and not conflicting with the rights of others. Considering veganism a protected characteristic might not seem like a big change, but it could have a significant impact on employment and the workplace, education, transport and even the provision of goods and services.

This case sparked a huge number of people to come forward with their own experiences of employment issues due to veganism, which you can read here. For now the knock-on effects are still emerging, so this is a hot topic to keep an eye on in the months to come.

IR35 Changes

Until recently the burden for IR35 has always fallen on the contractor – but not for much longer. Medium and larger businesses will soon take on responsibility for deciding a contractor’s employment status for tax purposes, and also for accounting to HMRC and deducting tax and NICs. This is more work and more admin for those businesses using contractors, and is expected to come into place on April 6th.

The good news is for smaller companies needing to use contractors, there is an exemption, providing you need any 2 of the 3 conditions:

  • You have an annual turnover of £10.2m or less;
  • You have a balance sheet total of £5.1m or less;
  • You have 50 employees or less

New Parental Rights

There are a lot of different parental rights you need to be aware of in the workplace, but there is one that will be changing soon. In April (which is when most employment law changes tend to happen), a new law will come into effect around parental bereavement leave. The new law will ensure that any employee who loses a child under the age of 18, or suffers a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy will be entitled to two weeks unpaid leave. This is a day one right, so it will apply regardless of how long the employee has worked for you, and it extends to adopters, foster parents, guardians, and any relatives or family friends who have taken responsibility for the child’s care. If the employee has been with you over 26 weeks, then they are also entitled to statutory pay during this period. So if you have a compassionate leave policy, you will need to check and update it before April (and communicate those changes to your employees).

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Always Stay On The Right Side!

Of course, handling all of these new changes to employment law can be tricky, especially if you’re running a small HR department. If you’re having issues with staff, policies or procedures during the New Year, or struggling to understand what you need to do to be compliant, it doesn’t hurt to get a little help and advice from the employment law experts. At Herefords, we offer hands-on, practical advice and guidance around all elements of employment law. Our service is all about guiding you through the minefield, helping you to understand the law and how it applies to your business. And thanks to our new Employment Law Retainer, you can be confident that your key HR decisions and advice are compliant and appropriate. You can find out more about our employment law retainer by clicking here.

Or for more information on handling issues in the workplace, you can get in touch with us and book your free consultation.


Call or email us to arrange a free consultation.

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