Employment Law: Casual Workers and Employment Rights | March 2020

Employment Law: Casual Workers and Employment Rights | March 2020

In a recent Employment Law update we looked at the forthcoming changes to key areas of employment following the introduction of the Good Work Plan. If you haven’t seen the changes that are on the way, following this new government strategy, you may find it useful to read on.

The Good Work Plan has been described as the biggest change in employment practices in 20 years. There are 53 changes that employers should be aware of and some of these changes will affect every employee contract from 6th April 2020. Other changes are on the horizon.

It is set to reform employment law with a focus on:

  1. Fair and decent work
  2. Clarity for employers and workers
  3. Fairer enforcement

Do you have plans in place to protect your business?

In an earlier employment law update, we focused on the changes to contracts of employment from April 2020. If you missed it, you can take a look at it here.

This month we are focusing on casual employment and the proposed future change:

1. Continuity of employment

One of the changes in the Good Work Plan is the plans to change the length of any break in service and whether that constitutes continuous service. This is an important change as it may impact in accrual of two years’ continuous service and employment rights, e.g. the right to claim unfair dismissal.

The current position is that a break of one complete week’s service ending on a Saturday can server continuous employment. The government plans to change this to four weeks. There are some exceptions e.g. temporary cessation of work or illness. A proposed change that you need to be aware of: particularly if you employ casual workers.

2. A worker’s right to request a more stable and predictable contract

With a growing number of zero hours contracts out there, there are plans to legislate to introduce the right to request a more stable and predictable contract after 26 weeks of employment. These would be dealt with in a similar way to flexible working requests.

3. Identifying the right employment status

This is at the heart of the reforms. It will be important for employers to correctly identify the employment status of those who work for them, as this governs employment rights.

The government has conceded that this is an area of unacceptable uncertainty and has promised legislation to provide clarity. Individuals who start working for businesses on a casual basis may, through regular use, have become integrated within the business to such an extent that they would be classed as employees or workers, entitling them to additional rights.

Watch this space.


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