In the Queen's speech in December 2019, the Government announced there will be an Employment Bill, some key elements of which include:
- creating a new, single enforcement body, offering greater protections for workers;
- introducing a new right for all workers to request a more predictable contract;
- extending redundancy protections to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination;
- allowing parents to take extended leave for neonatal care;
- introducing an entitlement to one week’s leave for unpaid carers; and
- making flexible working the default unless employers have good reason not to.
Following consultation, we are awaiting draft legislation and timescales. However, two important new rights will take effect from 6th April 2020:
- Extension of a right to a written statement for all workers from day one of employment
Employers currently have two months to issue a written statement of employment particulars (contract) to their employees. From April, all workers (including casual staff) must be issued with a written statement on day one.
- New statutory right to parental bereavement leave and pay introduced
Although many employers currently allow compassionate leave to bereaved parents, from April there will be a minimum entitlement (from day one of employment) for employees to take up to two weeks’ leave following the death of a child under 18 (or following a stillbirth 24 weeks or more into pregnancy). The leave must be taken in blocks of a week and can be taken immediately following the death of the child or within 56 weeks. Statutory parental bereavement pay will also be available to eligible employees.