15 April 2020

Hot topics - April 2020

Section 1 statements

A reminder that from 6 April, the new law on section 1 statements (written particulars of employment) came into effect. We reported on what additional information employers will need to include here, as well as providing guidance on how employers should avoid pitfalls associated with the changes. For the first time, workers starting engagements on or after 6 April will also be entitled to section 1 statements. Employers should bear in mind that any changes made to employment contracts as a result of Covid-19 may prompt requests from employees for updated particulars, in line with the new requirements.

Parental bereavement leave and pay

The new law on parental bereavement leave and pay came into effect on 6 April. Parents and primary carers who have at least 26 weeks’ service with their employer are now entitled to take 2 weeks’ paid leave (at the statutory rate) following a stillbirth after 24 weeks, or the death of a child up to the age of 18. Leave may be taken in a two week block, or two blocks of one week, up to 56 weeks after the death. Bereaved parents with less than 26 weeks’ service are eligible to take bereavement leave as unpaid leave.

Rebate of statutory sick pay for employers due to coronavirus

The government has produced guidance on how employers with fewer than 250 employees can claim a rebate for statutory sick pay (SSP) which has been paid as a result of coronavirus.

Under the rebate scheme (which was not operational at the time of writing but which should be up and running in the next few weeks) employers will be able to claim back SSP paid from 13 March onwards for a period of up to 14 days where employees have been sick with coronavirus or where they have been self-isolating at home. The guidance confirms that a fit note will not be needed for this purpose.

UK's new immigration system from 1 January 2021

UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) has published a summary for employers about the new immigration system which takes effect from 1 January 2021. Free Movement will end for EEA and Swiss nationals relocating to the UK from this date (with the exception of Irish nationals who will be able to continue to live and work in the UK without a visa). Under the new immigration system, points will be awarded for sponsorship, skill level, whether it is a "shortage occupation list" role, salary, qualifications and the migrant's English language skills. Employers not already holding a sponsor licence will need to obtain one in order to sponsor EEA and Swiss nationals arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021. UKVI has started accepting sponsor licence applications from employers who may have a need to sponsor EU nationals in the New Year. The current processing time for a sponsor licence application is 4 to 5 weeks but the UKVI summary has given a timeframe of 8 weeks, perhaps anticipating a higher number of applications. We would advise employers who may have a need to sponsor EEA and/or Swiss nationals to apply for a licence as soon as possible. For more details about the new system, please see our earlier article here.

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