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Blog: 2020 UK Employment Law changes you need to know about

2020 looks to be a busy year for employment law changes.  We’ve created a time-table of major employment law changes you may want to consider to help you with your planning.

Case law developments anticipated in 2020

In addition to the list below, we’re expecting outcomes on some important legal cases this year.  Keep your eyes peeled for the news on the following:

Morrisons data breach

This is a case with big potential implications for employers.  Back in 2014 Morrisons Supermarket was the victim of a data breach carried out by an employee.  He leaked personal details online of 100,000 employees – including their salary, bank account and NI information.  He was jailed for this but Morrisons were found vicariously liable for his actions in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

They are now appealing to the Supreme Court in an attempt to reverse this judgment, which is anticipated in 2020.  This case has created a wider scope for vicarious liability which employers need to be aware of.  We will of course keep you informed on the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment.

Mencap sleep-in pay appeal

This hearing (anticipated Feb 2020) and judgement from Supreme Court is urgently awaited by a variety of charities.   This case revolves around the question of whether every hour of a sleep-in shift counts for the purposed of the National Minimum Wage – including the hours the individual spends asleep.

It has been reported that total back pay could be as much as £400 million. It is therefore a critical case for care charities and their finances.  If the Supreme Court overrules the Court of Appeal’s ruling, some charities will face bankruptcy.

Employment Law Timetable 2020:

1. Brexit   31 January

Many UK employment laws in areas such as holidays and business transfers currently come from EU directives. Under the provisions of the EU Withdrawal Act these have been written into UK law. This means that on the day after the UK leaves the EU there will be no immediate change in the law affecting employment. However, what happens in the longer term will be for the UK government and Parliament to decide.

We are still very much in the land of the ‘unknown’ at this stage. Any changes will depend on how the UK leaves the EU, and the nature of our future relationship and trading arrangements.

We work in partnership with Business Immigration law experts to offer legal advice and fixed fee services in this specialist area. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more: 0117 325 0526

If you are looking for some guidance on preparing to leave the EU, please visit

2. Gender Pay Gap reporting for public sector employers  30 March

Public Sector Organisations with 250+ employees will have to submit their 2019 reports before 30 March 2020.

3. National Minimum Wage 1 April

An increase in the National Minimum Wage is due in April 2020 as follows:

Year 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
April 2019 £8.21 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90
April 2020 £8.72 £8.20 £6.45 £4.55 £4.15

4. Gender Pay Gap reporting for private sector employers  4 April

Companies with 250+ employees will have to submit their 2019 reports before 4 April 2020.

5. Statutory Sick Pay  6 April

SSP increase expected

6. A week’s pay  6 April

The maximum amount of a week’s pay (used to calculate statutory redundancy payments) expected to increase.

7. Termination Payments  6 April

Termination payments above £30,000 now to be subject to employer’s national insurance (Class 1A NICs)

8. IR35 Changes  6 April

The IR35 tax rules are aimed at reducing tax avoidance for off-payroll contractors working through personal service companies (PSC) come into force in April.

These are a set of new processes and obligations which will apply to existing as well as new arrangements. They require action each and every time.

From 6 April 2020, medium and large sized private sector businesses will become responsible for assessing the employment status of the off-payroll workers they engage. The simple reason behind this is cost. The government has reported that the cost, in terms of lost tax revenue, of non-compliance with the off-payroll working rules in the private sector is growing and will reach £1.3 billion a year by 2023/24.

From April the new rules will apply to private sector businesses with an annual turnover of over £10.2 million or 50 or more employees.

The Government has, however, announced a ‘limited’ Off-payroll review. The likely outcome is small tweaks rather than the wholescale change some campaigners would have liked. Accordingly we wouldn’t advise you to change your plans at this stage, you need to be ready for this one.

9. Right to a Written Statement  6 April

There are three important changes to written statements, which will apply from April 6th 2020:

  1. All workers employed on or after 6th April 2020 will be entitled to a written statement of employment particulars.
  2. Employees and workers must be provided with their written statement on or before their first day of employment.
  3. There is additional information that written statements will need to contain

As this is one of the biggest employment law changes of 2020 (if not the biggest), you can find our much more detailed piece here:

Changes to written statement of particulars – get ready for April

10. Information and Consultation  6 April

From 6th April 2020, there will be a reduction in the percentage of employees required to make a valid request for an agreement on the sharing of information and consultation within the workplace. Currently it is at least 10% of the workforce who must put in a request before an employer is obliged to take steps to comply with this right. This percentage will be reduced to 2%. The requirement that at least 15 employees make the request will remain.

11. Agency Workers  6 April

There are three important changes to agency workers’ rights which will apply from April 6th 2020:

  1. Abolition of the Swedish Derogation (sometimes referred to as ‘pay between assignments’ contracts). Previously agency workers could agree a contract which would remove their right to equal pay with permanent counterparts after 12 weeks working at the same assignment. From 6th April 2020, these contracts will no longer be permissible, and all agency workers, after 12 weeks, will be entitled to the same rate of pay as their permanent counterparts.
  2. All agency workers will be entitled to a key information document that more clearly sets out their employment relationships and terms and conditions with their agency.
  3. Agency workers who are considered to be employees will be protected from unfair dismissal or suffering a detriment if the reasons are related to asserting rights associated with The Agency Worker Regulations.

12. Holiday Pay  6 April

From 6th April 2020, the reference period used to calculate a ‘week’s pay’ for holiday pay purposes will be extended from the previous 12 weeks of work to the previous 52 weeks.

13. New Statutory Rates  7 April

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) and Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) expected to increase.

14. Parental Bereavement leave  April

It will give all employed parents the right to 2 weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

15. Posted Workers  30 July

Revised Posted Workers Directive set to be become law.

16. Free Movement  31 December

Free movement of EU workers expected to end.



As always, Menzies Law will keep you up to date with any employment law developments and their implications as they happen.  In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like advice or guidance on, we’d be keen to explore how we can help you, just get in touch!  0117 325 0526


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