Important Employment Law Changes – What Essex businesses need to know…


As well as the new furlough leave and changes to holiday carry over that have come in because of the current Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, Essex businesses must also not forget about the other changes such as the new parental bereavement leave, changes to holiday calculations for employees/workers on variable pay and changes to the written statement of terms. All of which come into force on 6 April 2020 (today).  Here Paula Fisher, MD of Southend-based HR Platform ‘’ and HR Consultants ‘Practical HR’ summarises some of these changes:

Paula said: “What is clear is that in these uncertain times employment law still applies, so it is essential that you do things in the right way to prevent further trouble down the road with possible disputes or tribunal claims.  Many SMEs worry about HR. They worry about being compliant, keeping up-to-date and potential litigation.  The current crisis has increased SME’s concerns and they can feel overwhelmed with all the changes. was created to solve these problems as it solves the HR compliance and communication problems for SMEs, now and in the future by ensuring you have a solid HR foundation, leaving you more chance to not only survive but also to flourish and grow in the future”.

Employment Law Changes from 6th April 2020

Parental Bereavement Leave

This new legislation will see employed parents who lose a child aged under 18 years, being entitled to two weeks’ bereavement leave. This will mean employees are better supported at such a difficult time.

This new legislation, which comes into effect on the 6th April 2020, will cover any working parent, no matter how long they have worked for their employer.  Parents employed for six months or more, will also be able to claim statutory pay for the bereavement period, in line with the approach for other entitlements such as maternity leave, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.

Bereaved parents will be able to take leave in either a single block of two weeks or as separate blocks of one week across the first year after their child’s death.

Holiday Calculations

A further change from April 2020, relates to the calculation of a week’s pay for holiday pay purposes, where an employee or worker has variable pay. Currently, holiday pay is based on the average pay for the 12 weeks before the holiday. This reference period will increase to 52 weeks (i.e. their average pay for the year).  We advise businesses to take regular overtime or other regular payments into consideration when calculating holiday pay.

If you currently pay using an average of 12 weeks, you need to review your processes and adjust this to 52 weeks. This will mean a change to your contracts of employment if you have any employees who have variable pay.

Written Statement of Terms

From 6th April employees and workers are entitled to a written statement of terms not later than the beginning of the employment i.e. before or on their first day of work (prior to 6th April 2020, employers had a two months to provide this and it was not required for workers). In addition, further information must be provided. This new information includes:

  • any training entitlement provided by the employer, any part of it which is compulsory, and any other compulsory training which the employer will not bear the cost of
  • any probationary period, including any conditions and its duration
  • hours of work, including any terms and conditions relating to normal working hours, the days of the week they’re required to work, and whether or not such hours or days may be variable and, if they may be, how they vary or how that variation is to be determined
  • any other benefits (including non-contractual) not covered elsewhere in the written statement
  • any terms and conditions relating to any other paid leave, e.g. maternity leave
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