This timetable outlines the major changes to UK employment legislation from 2019 to 2021, and what's expected beyond that time period. For information on employment law in Northern Ireland, CIPD members can see our factsheet.

1 January 2019

Executive pay gap reporting in force

From this date, regulations made under the Companies Act 2006 require UK listed companies with more than 250 UK employees to report annually on the pay gap between their chief executive and their average UK worker. 

The first reports are due in 2020. 

See 17 July 2018 - Executive pay gap reporting regulations for more details.

25 January 2019

Consultation on extending pregnancy protection

The government has produced a consultation on extending discrimination protection during pregnancy and maternity. The proposals build on evidence of discrimination against pregnant women and new parents from BEIS, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and the Taylor report, and recommendations from the Women and Equalities Select Committee.

The proposals include extending the ‘protected period’ to six months after the new mother returns to work – currently the special protections against redundancy finish when maternity leave ends, or two weeks after pregnancy ends for women not entitled to maternity leave. Giving parents returning from adoption or shared parental leave the same rights is also proposed.

The consultation closes on 5 April 2019. 

30 March 2019

EU settlement scheme fully open

A scheme to protect EU citizens’ right to remain in the UK once freedom of movement ends following Brexit will be fully open to applications from 30 March 2019, having been piloted since January.

EU citizens who have already been in the UK for five years may apply for settled status, while those who have been here for under five years can apply for pre-settled status. All EU citizens will need to apply, even if they already have permanent residency in the UK, and applications can be made up until the end of transitional period under the withdrawal agreement. The new status is not dependent on employment.

The process is fully digital, can be completed on a smart phone, and is free from 30 March (previously there was a £65 charge).

From January 2021 a new immigration system will apply to EU and non-EU citizens.

For more information and resources on Brexit and employment, visit our Brexit hub.

30 March 2019

Gender pay gap reports (public sector)

‘Specified public authorities’, including government departments, the armed forces, local authorities, the NHS and state schools, with 250 or more employees, are required to publish their gender pay gap reports by this date, based on data gathered on 31 March each year.

The requirements for the reports, under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017, are largely the same as those that apply to private and voluntary sector organisations of the same size (see below).

31 March 2019

Modern slavery statement ‘naming and shaming’

The Home Office will be conducting an audit of annual anti-slavery statements and publishing a list of businesses that have failed to publish their statement for the 2018 financial year by 31 March 2019 deadline.

The ‘naming and shaming’ is seen as a prelude to strengthening the reporting requirements under the legislation and, possibly, introducing sanctions for non-compliance.

For more on modern slavery statements, read our Corporate governance factsheet.

1 April 2019

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Budget 2018 new National Minimum/Living Wage from 1 April 2019 as:

  • Workers aged 25 and over - £8.21 an hour (National Living Wage)
  • Workers aged 21-24 - £7.70 an hour
  • Development rate for workers aged 18-20 - £6.15 an hour
  • Young workers rate for workers aged 16-17 - £4.35 an hour
  • Apprentice rate (workers under 19 or in first year of apprenticeship) - £3.90 an hour.

More information is available on the GOV.UK website.

4 April 2019

Gender pay gap reports (private and voluntary sectors)

Private and voluntary sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees are required to publish information about the differences in pay and bonuses between men and women in their workforce, based on a ‘snapshot’ date of 5 April each year, under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. The first set of reports was published in 2018, and the second reports are due by 4 April 2019.

Similar reporting requirements apply to larger public sector employers (see above).

Provisions under the Northern Irish Employment Act 2016 mirror these, except they include fines of up to £5,000 for non-compliance, and a requirement to report on ethnicity and disability pay gaps, as well as gender.

For more information on gender pay gap reporting, see our topic page.

6 April 2019

Good work plan: employer penalties for breaches

The government’s ‘Good work plan’, published in December 2018, made a commitment to increase the penalties for employers that repeatedly breach their employment law obligations. Tribunals have the power to impose a £5,000 ‘aggravated breach’ penalty on employers losing cases, and from 6 April 2019, the maximum limit on these penalties will rise to £20,000.

The change is contained in Part 1 of the Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019.

6 April 2019

Pay slip changes

Two important changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996, affecting pay slip information, will come into force on 6 April:

  • Employers must include the total number of hours worked where the pay varies according the hours worked, for example under variable hours or zero hours contracts.
  • Payslips must be given to ‘workers’ and not just employees.

The government issued guidance on the new requirements on 13 December 2018.

For more information, CIPD members can also see our Terms and conditions of employment law Q&As.

6 April 2019

Compensation limits

Tribunal compensation limits increase from 6 April 2019. The new rates are:

  • Limit on guaranteed payments – £29
  • Limit on a week’s pay – £525
  • Maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payment – £15,750
  • Minimum basic award for unfair dismissal – £6,408
  • Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal – £86,444

For more information and levels of other rates, see Statutory rates and compensation limits.

On the same date, the Vento bands for calculating injury to feelings awards in discrimination claims for England and Wales increased as follows:

  • Lower band £900-£8,800
  • Middle band £8,800-£26,300
  • Upper band £26,300-£44,000.

For more information, see Presidential guidance Vento bands (pdf)

6 April 2019

Statutory sick pay rate

Statutory sick pay (SSP) rises from £92.05 to £94.25 on 6 April 2019.

The lower earnings limit rises from £116 to £118 on the same date.

For more information, see Benefits and pension rates 2019 to 2020 on the GOV.UK website.

7 April 2019

Statutory maternity, paternity etc rates

Statutory maternity (SMP), paternity (SPP), adoption (SAP) and shared parental pay (ShPP) rises from £145.18 to £148.68 a week from 7 April 2019.

The lower earnings limit rises from £116 to £118 on the same date.

For more information, see Benefits and pension rates 2019 to 2020 on the GOV.UK website.

20 May 2019

WEC pregnancy and maternity redundancy protection Bill

Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) chair Maria Miller introduced on this date a Bill to extend protection against redundancy for pregnant women and mothers. The Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill 2019 would have prohibited redundancy during, and for six months after, pregnancy and maternity leave, except in certain circumstances.

The Bill followed a Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) consultation on the same issue (see '25 January 2019 - Consultation on extending pregnancy protection' above) and research which found that one in nine women had been dismissed, or felt forced to resign, after returning from maternity leave, but did not have government backing.

The government published a response to its consultation on 22 July 2019 (see '22 July 2019 - Extending pregnancy protection from redundancy' below). Parliament announced on 10 October 2019 that the WEC Bill had failed to complete its passage through Parliament and will make no further progress.

29 May 2019

Proposed expansion of shortage occupation list

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which advises the government on immigration matters, has recommended increasing the shortage occupation list to cover around 9% of jobs in the labour market (including nurses, computer programmers, web designers, and chefs working in food takeaways) instead of the 1% the list currently covers. The shortage occupation list allows employers to offer work to non-EU nationals without carrying out a resident labour market test.

The MAC recommendations follow a full review of the shortage occupation list and acknowledges the increasing difficulty employers face in recruiting skilled employees in a shrinking labour market. Its review related to the current immigration system and the MAC has suggested a further review will be required post-Brexit.

For more information, see the MAC’s ‘Full review of the shortage occupation list’.

11 July 2019

Consultation on sexual harassment

The Government Equalities Office has published a consultation on whether the current laws designed to protect workforces from sexual harassment at work are adequate. 

The consultation asks:

  • how to ensure organisations take all possible steps to prevent harassment
  • whether there should be a mandatory duty on organisations to protect workers from harassment, accompanied by a statutory Code of Practice
  • whether employers should be required to monitor and report externally on preventing and dealing with instances of sexual harassment
  • how to strengthen the law on third-party harassment
  • whether interns and volunteers are adequately protected
  • whether there should be a timeframe longer than the current three months for bringing a harassment, discriminations or victimisation claim in a tribunal.

The consultation closes on 2 October 2019.

15 July 2019

Consultation on extension of sick pay to lowest paid

The government has produced ‘proposals to reduce ill-health related job loss’ aimed at encouraging employers to take early action on long-term health conditions and improve access to cost-effective occupational health. The proposals include:

  • changing the legal framework so that employees would be able to request workplace modifications for health reasons without being disabled within the definition of the Equality Act 2010 (employers would be able to refuse such requests for business reasons)
  • extending SSP to those below the Lower Earnings Limit by paying it as a proportion of employees’ wages, paying a proportion of SSP during a phased return to work, and increasing fines for non-payment of SSP
  • increasing market capacity for, and improving the quality and value of, occupational health provision
  • increasing fines for non-payment of SSP, and putting the new single labour market enforcement body in charge of enforcement.

The consultation closes on 7 October 2019.

16 July 2019

Good work plan: consultation on single enforcement body

The government has put forward proposals to create a new single enforcement body for employment rights responsible for:

  • enforcing the payment of the national minimum wage
  • tackling labour exploitation and modern slavery
  • safeguarding holiday payments for vulnerable workers
  • ensuring agency workers are not underpaid.

The new body would pick up the work of the DWP on enforcing statutory sick pay, provide an additional route for tackling sexual harassment alongside the EHRC, take over enforcing tribunal awards from BEIS, and be responsible for specific aspects of annual leave for vulnerable workers (although the HSE will still be in charge of enforcing the Working Time Regulations in general).

Matthew Taylor, whose ‘Good work’ review for the government suggested the single enforcement body, takes on the role of Director of Labour Market Enforcement for one year from 1 August 2019.

The consultation closes on 6 October 2019.

19 July 2019

Good work plan: consultations on parental leave and flexibility

The government has published a consultation document, stemming from its ‘Good work plan’, on strengthening support for working families. The consultation covers three aspects of protecting parents at work:

  • parental leave and pay
  • neonatal leave and pay
  • transparency of flexible working and family related leave and pay policies.

The first part of the consultation asks for views, but doesn’t contain proposals, on issues such as paternity leave and pay, whether there should be a shared pot of pay for parental pay, rather than mothers continuing to control the system, whether shared parental pay should be enhanced, or whether there should a complete overhaul of family leave entitlements.

The second part of the consultation proposes a new ‘day one’ right to neonatal leave for parents of seriously ill babies needing two weeks or more hospital care. The amount of leave will be capped and paid at the statutory rate subject to the qualifying conditions for paternity pay.

The third part asks whether employers with 250 or more staff should be required to publish details of their family friendly policies, including flexible working arrangements, on their websites, and whether job ads should be required to state an organisation’s approach to flexibility.

The consultation on parental leave and pay closes on 29 November, and the consultations on neonatal leave and pay, and transparency on flexible working, close on 11 October 2019.

On the same date, the government launched a consultation on addressing unfair flexible working practices, seeking views on proposals from the Low Pay Commission on providing:

  • a right to reasonable notice of working hours
  • appropriate compensation for workers’ shifts cancelled without reasonable notice.

This consultation also closes on 11 October.

21 July 2019

Misuse of non-disclosure agreements

Theresa May’s government made a commitment on this date to legislate to tackle the misuse of confidentiality clauses (also known as non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs) in employment contracts and settlement agreements, including those being used to cover up sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

In its ‘measures to prevent misuse’ document, the government undertook to legislate so that:

  • NDAs cannot be used to stop disclosures to the police, and legal and health care professionals
  • the limits on NDAs are clearly set out in contracts and settlement agreements
  • the independent legal advice received by those agreeing to clauses is enhanced.

The government also said it would ensure that enforcement measures for unlawful NDAs appear in written particulars and settlement agreements, and produce guidance for legal professionals on drafting confidentiality clauses. It is already the law that an employee must receive legal advice before signing an NDA, and that an NDA can’t prevent whistleblowing ‘in the public interest’.

The measures are in response to a consultation (pdf) conducted earlier in the year. The government planned to legislate 'when Parliamentary time allows' and in response to its own consultation on the issue (see 11 July 2019 – Consultation on sexual harassment’ above).

On 18 October 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published guidance on the ‘use of confidentiality agreements in discrimination cases’, setting out how employers can word NDAs so they protect confidential information without preventing employees speaking out about discrimination.

22 July 2019

Extending pregnancy protection from redundancy

An employee at risk of redundancy while on maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave has the right to be offered any suitable alternative vacancy that is available.

The government is proposing to extend this protection to:

  • pregnant employees, once they have told their employer of their pregnancy
  • employees returning from maternity or adoption leave within the previous six months
  • parents returning from shared parental leave (although how the limits on this right will operate is still to be worked out).

The proposals are in response to a consultation earlier in the year on pregnancy and maternity discrimination. The government has said that legislation will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows.

14 October 2019

Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech, made before Parliament closed for the general election, committed Boris Johnson's government to introduce legislation to ‘make work fairer’ and ‘support those working hard’.

Good work plan – no new legislation was proposed but the accompanying briefing notes indicate this administration would pick up on consultations carried out by the previous Conservative government. These included tackling one-sided flexibility that benefits employers rather than workers, and creating a single body to oversee and improve the enforcement of employment rights (see ‘19 July 2019 – good work plan: consultations on parental leave and flexibility’ and ‘16 July 2019 – Good work plan: consultation on single enforcement body’ above).

NMW – at the Tory Party conference in September, Chancellor Sajid Javid promised to raise the National Living Wage (currently £8.21 an hour) to £10.50 within five years and lower the qualifying age from 25 to 21 years. The briefing notes reiterate this intention and promise further details in the next Budget (originally due on 6 November).

Tips – a new Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill (to apply in England, Wales and Scotland but not Northern Ireland) was proposed to ensure workers get tips in full, and employers distribute them in a ‘fair and transparent’ way. The Bill would be accompanied by a statutory Code of Practice. A consultation on tips  was launched in 2016.

Immigration – the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination Bill would be introduced to end free movement and make EU citizens arriving after January 2021 subject to the same new points-based immigration system as those arriving from elsewhere in the world (citizens from the Irish Republic will still be allowed to enter and remain in the UK as now).

Pensions – a Pensions Schemes Bill was proposed which would ‘provide greater powers to tackle irresponsible management of private pension schemes’.

29 October 2019

Mandatory references

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom put forward proposals for ‘enhanced protections for workers facing workplace discrimination’ on this date. The proposals include whether employers should be required to provide a basic reference for all departing employees, in order to prevent withholding references being used as a bargaining chip to threaten workers.

The government press release refers to a wider package of measures ‘cracking down on misuse of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and workplace discrimination’ announced previously (see 21 July 2019 – Misuse of non-disclosure agreements’ above) but does not include a consultation document or draft legislation.

2020

New regulations under the Companies Act 2006, in force from 1 January 2019, require UK listed companies with more than 250 UK employees to report on the pay ratio between their chief executive and their average UK worker as part of their annual company reporting requirements.

Around 900 businesses will have to state, in their directors’ remuneration report, the pay gap between their CEO and a representative employee from the:

  • 25th pay percentile
  • 50th (median) pay percentile
  • 75th pay percentile.

Companies can choose between three options for calculating the pay ratio but must account for their choice in the report. A strengthening of the Corporate Governance Code also requires them to say what action they’ve taken to improve employee engagement and consultation in their remuneration reports.

The first reports will be published from the beginning of 2020 reporting on pay awarded in 2019.

From this date, statutory sick pay (SSP) is payable from day one of an employee or worker’s absence from work, rather than day four as previously, if the reason for the absence is self-isolation to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in accordance with guidance from Public Health England, NHS Scotland, or Public Health Wales.

Employers are responsible for paying SSP and ‘will know the reason their staff are giving for not being at work’ according to a government press release. The legislation is temporary, subject to ministerial rule and automatically lapses after eight months.

Legislation to make SSP payable from day one for absence due to Covid-19 sickness is also promised.

The employment tribunal service for England and Wales, and Scotland, has issued guidance (pdf) on conducting tribunals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The guidance says that hearings may be conducted using electronic communications (including by telephone and video conferencing) where the tribunal thinks it ‘just and equitable’ to do so, in order to reduce the risks to parties and their representatives caused by having to travel to tribunals and interact with a range of individuals.

Hearings conducted by employment judges and only one lay member are also encouraged where it is not possible to convene the usual 3-person panel. The tribunal service has asked for applications to tribunals to be sent electronically because judges may not be working from the tribunal building.

A bill containing a wide-ranging set of provisions giving the Government temporary emergency powers to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic by regulation was debated in Parliament on 23 March and became law on 25 March.

One set of regulations, the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, bring into law some of the employment measures already announced by the Government. The Government now has the power to make further regulations that will allow:

  • employers to recover the additional statutory sick pay paid out due to the scrapping of the 3-day waiting period (see ‘SSP amendment above’)
  • rebating to be extended to larger businesses, if necessary
  • the amount of rebate payable to be increased or decreased.

Other measures include a new statutory right to take emergency volunteer leave to help in health or social care for workers certified as appropriate by a local authority, the NHS, or the Department of Health, and working in businesses with 10 or more staff. 

Workers can take the leave in blocks of two, three or four weeks and may take one block of leave in any volunteering period. The first 16-week period begins on the day the legislation takes effect. 

Volunteers must give three working days’ notice of their intention to take the leave. There are no provisions allowing employers to refuse it. The leave is unpaid but a fund will be established to compensate volunteers for loss of earnings, travel and subsistence. All other terms and conditions other than salary continue during the leave and the volunteer has a right to return to their own job.

The Act also gives the Government the power to restrict events and close down business premises where needed to prevent the transmission of Coronavirus, or to avoid the deployment of medical or emergency staff.

The legislation is limited to two years' duration, although this period can be lengthened or shortened as required, and the measures within it can be brought in, suspended and reactivated in response to current needs.

Go to our Coronavirus FAQs for more details on coping with COVID-19, including links to government guidance on support for businesses.

The government announced a temporary relaxation of the rules on carrying over untaken holiday on this date in response to the Covid-19 emergency. The Working Time (Coronavirus)(Amendment) Regulations 2020 allow workers to carry over leave they were unable to take due to the Coronavirus outbreak into the next two leave years.

The relaxation of the rules only applies to the four weeks statutory leave under EU rules. The UK’s extra 1.6 weeks’ leave can still only be carried over into the next leave year.

Acas guidance says reasons for being unable to take leave could include:

  • self-isolating or being too ill to take leave
  • being temporarily laid off or ‘furloughed’
  • having to work through holidays.

The amended regulations have immediate effect.

Specified public authorities, including government departments, the armed forces, local authorities, the NHS and state schools, with 250 or more employees, are required to publish their gender pay gap reports annually by this date, based on data gathered on 31 March each year.

The requirements for the reports, under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017, are largely the same as those that apply to private and voluntary sector organisations of the same size (see below).

For more information, visit our Gender pay gap reporting topic page.

COVID-19: the Government has announced a suspension of enforcement measures on gender pay gap reporting for 2019/20 in view of the unprecedented pressures businesses are currently experiencing.

From this date, the National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over rises to £8.72 an hour.

The new rates were announced on 31 December 2019 and follow the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations.

For more details, visit our Statutory rates page.

Private and voluntary sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees are required to publish information about the differences in pay and bonuses between men and women in their workforce, based on a ‘snapshot’ date of 5 April each year, under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. The third set of reports are due by 4 April 2020. Similar reporting requirements apply to larger public sector employers (see above).

Provisions under the Northern Irish Employment Act 2016 mirror these, but have yet to be brought into force.

For more information, visit our Gender pay gap reporting topic page.

COVID-19: the Government has announced a suspension of enforcement measures on gender pay gap reporting for 2019/20 in view of the unprecedented pressures businesses are currently experiencing.

Agency workers In the ‘Good work plan’, published in December 2018, the government made a commitment to abolish a legal loophole known as the ‘Swedish derogation’ in the agency worker rules. This allowed agencies to opt out of equalising the pay of agency staff with the permanent workforce, when the worker had been with the same employer for more than 12 weeks, by paying agency workers between assignments. The opt-out ceases on 6 April 2020 when the Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019 come into force.

Agency workers also become entitled on this date to a ‘Key information’ document, specifying what type of contract they are on, their rate of pay, how they will be paid and by which company.

Annual leave The government is lengthening the reference period for determining an average week’s pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks from 6 April 2020 - see the Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018. The reform is intended to improve the holiday pay for seasonal workers, who tend to lose out over the way it is currently calculated.

Statement of terms Both employees and workers must receive a statement of ‘written particulars’ (basic employment terms and conditions) as a day one right from this date (see Part 3 of Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019). Both became entitled to an itemised payslip on this date last year.

The government is resuming the public naming of businesses that don’t comply with the National Minimum Wage regulations from this date, while raising the threshold at which this occurs from £100 to £500 in payment arrears. Fines still exist for underpayments of less than £100.

Other changes to the regulations being introduced on this date include:

  • Broadening the definition of ‘salaried hours workers’ (those receiving an annual salary in equal installments for a set number of contracted hours) to include fortnightly and 4-weekly payment cycles
  • Allowing employers to choose the most appropriate ‘calculation year’ for pay monitoring purposes
  • Ensuring salaried workers can be paid premiums (for working on Bank Holidays, for example) without this affecting their entitlement to the NMW on other days.

The government is also promising better guidance on the NMW, more compliance support for small businesses, and a helpline for employers operating salary sacrifice or other pay deduction schemes.

Tribunal compensation limits increase from 6 April 2020. The new rates are:

  • Limit on guaranteed payments – £30
  • Limit on a week’s pay – £538
  • Maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payment – £16,140
  • Minimum basic award for unfair dismissal – £6,562
  • Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal – £88,519

For more information and levels of other rates, see Statutory rates and compensation limits page.

On the same date, the Vento bands for calculating injury to feelings awards in discrimination claims for England and Wales increase as follows:

  • Lower band £900-£9,000
  • Middle band £9,000-£27,000
  • Upper band £27,000-£45,000 

Exceptionally serious cases could exceed the £45,000 cap.

For more information, see Presidential guidance Vento bands (pdf).

On 23 January 2020, the Government announced that the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 will be coming into force on 6 April 2020.

The Act, which became law in 13 September 2019, gives employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy, on or after this date, the right to two weeks’ leave. Regulations specify that the two weeks’ leave may be taken as one block, or as two non-consecutive one week blocks, at any time during the 56 weeks following the child’s death.

The leave will paid at the same statutory rate as other family friendly rights (see our Statutory rates and compensation limits page) if the employee has 26 weeks’ service.

Employed parents are already entitled, as a day one right, to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with emergencies involving a dependent, including dealing with a dependent’s death.

On 17 March 2020, the government announced that it was postponing the rollout of the new off payroll working rules (known as IR35) to the private sector until 6 April 2021. The government emphasised that this was a “deferral, not a cancellation” in response to the Coronavirus situation, and that it remained committed to the policy of ensuring that those contractors working like employees pay the same tax as employees.

(For more information on this topic, see below '6 April 2021 - Extension of IR35 to the private sector'.)

From this date, the threshold for making a valid request to set up information and consultation arrangements under the ICE Regulations 2004 drops from 10% to the 2% of the workforce. There still needs to be 15 employees making the request.

The regulations apply to businesses with 50 or more employees in the UK, and the changes are being introduced under the ‘Good work plan’.

From this date, termination payments over the sum of £30,000 become subject to employer NICs. This change was delayed from April 2018.

The government has produced regulations, in force from this date, requiring employers to calculate statutory redundancy pay based on the redundant employee’s normal pay rather than their reduced pay under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The regulations, made on the 29 July and laid before Parliament the following day, also apply to other statutory entitlements associated with dismissal such as compensation for unfair dismissal, notice pay and so on.

The regulations are expected to be extended to Northern Ireland in August.

On 15 July 2020, the government introduced an amendment to the rules on standard and enhanced criminal records certificates issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The draft regulation will stop the automatic disclosure to employers of youth cautions, reprimands and warnings, and of all convictions where somebody has more than one. The change is expected to come into effect later in 2020.

The Supreme Court directed the government in January 2019 to make the change after it ruled in favour of three people who claimed their lives had been blighted by past minor criminal convictions. The court found the continued disclosure to employers of minor offences committed in childhood was ‘disproportionate’ and a breach of human rights.

To find out about the CIPD's viewpoint on immigration policy post-Brexit, and how to cope with the workforce issues it presents, go to our Brexit and future immigration policy page.

2021 and beyond

On 13 July 2020, the government published further details on the new immigration system in force from the beginning of 2021.

The statement covered among other issues:

  • Confirmation on the abolition on the cap on the number of sponsored workers allowed to enter and work in the UK
  • Confirmation of the scrapping of the resident labour market test
  • How migrants can qualify for the new Skilled Worker visa (previously known as a Tier 2 visa)
  • Who will be eligible for the new Health and Care visa (previously known as the NHS visa).

For more information, see our Factsheet Immigration law changes: for UK employers.

The IR35 rules prevent contractors working through Personal Service Companies (PCS), and performing similar roles to employees, paying less tax and NICs than if they were permanently employed by the client organisation. When the rules were introduced in 2000, contractors themselves assessed whether IR35 applied to them. In April 2017, responsibility for deciding whether contractors’ working in the public sector were caught by IR35 switched to their employers, and those organisations also became liable for deducting the right amount of tax and NICs from fees paid to the contractors’ PSCs.

From 6 April 2021, this responsibility applies to all private sector employers that in a tax year have:

  • more than 50 employees
  • an annual turnover over £10.2 million
  • a balance sheet worth over £5.1 million.

The extension of the rules to the private sector was due to take effect from 6 April 2020 (see above) but was delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

HMRC has published guidance on the new rules, Prepare for changes to the off-payroll working rules (IR35), and a statement on the outcome of its consultation, Off-payroll working rules from April 2021.

On 21 July 2020, the government confirmed its intention to introduce a £95,000 cap on exit payments in the public sector. The change will allow exit payments to be recovered for highly paid public servants moving between jobs.

The change was first consulted on in August 2015, and powers to introduce it approved in February 2017. The plans were resurrected in April 2019 with a further consultation.

The draft Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020 have started their journey through Parliament and the government has said that guidance produced in 2019 will be revised. There is no date as yet for the regulations coming into force.

An employee at risk of redundancy while on maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave has the right to be offered any suitable alternative vacancy that is available.

The government is proposing to extend this protection to:

  • pregnant employees, once they have told their employer of their pregnancy
  • employees returning from maternity or adoption leave within the previous six months
  • parents returning from shared parental leave (although how the limits on this right will operate is still to be worked out).

The proposals are in response to a consultation earlier in the year on pregnancy and maternity discrimination. The government has said that legislation will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows.

The Good work plan contained a commitment to introduce extra statutory leave and pay for all parents of premature babies needing specialist care in a neonatal unit. In March 2020, the government confirmed its intention to introduce 12 weeks’ paid leave for parents in this position to avoid them having to choose between returning to work and taking care of their newborn. Announcements prior to the Budget indicated the premature baby leave would be in addition to existing maternity and paternity pay provisions. Although details on how it will work are yet to be released, the leave is expected to be taken after maternity/paternity leave, in blocks of one or more weeks, and paid at the statutory rate for those employees with 26 weeks’ service.

There was also a Budget 2020 commitment to consult on a new ‘in-work entitlement’ for employees with unpaid caring responsibilities, such as for a family member or a dependant.

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