A number of changes in employment law will shortly come into force, resulting in businesses needing to update their employment policies for 2020
The start of a new year is a great time to get your house in order and to review your policies to check that they are up to date. With so many legal changes implemented over the past decade, this year in particular will see many more changes than usual, especially within employment law. Businesses should therefore be sure to seek legal advice to ensure that their policies and contracts are reviewed and updated so that they are in line with the new laws and regulations.
Data protection policies, privacy notices and records retention policies are examples of GDPR policies which should be reviewed to ensure they are not outdated. The new regulations, which came into force in May 2018, were designed to modernise laws which protect the personal information of individuals. As each and every business is different, there is not set answer or template as to how your business’ policies should look. Instead, the ICO provides guidance based on key principles such as having a lawful basis for processing data, having a specific and legitimate purpose for collecting data, and deleting personal data when it is no longer deleted.
Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”)
Linked closely to GDPR are BYOD policies; with more and more people using smartphones, laptops and tablets in the workplace, a BYOD policy provides guidance on the extent to which employees can use their personal devices at work. A BYOD policy should be careful to set out who owns what in terms of data and apps and that all company information belongs to the employer.
The “Good Work Plan” published in December 2018 set out changes to improve holiday arrangements for seasonal workers, by extending the reference period from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. This will enable employers to adequately calculate a worker’s average weekly pay and will be a much fairer approach as it will be a more accurate reflection of working hours across the year. If your business employs seasonal workers, you should ensure that your holiday policies are reviewed and updated accordingly.
Health and Safety
If you employ staff, it is both yours and your employees’ responsibility to maintain a safe working environment. You should ensure that your policies state that the employer will have a duty to ensure the safety of their employees, but equally that employees have a duty towards themselves and to each other to take reasonable care of their own safety and the safety of others.
As before, there are many new changes to employment law which will be implemented this year, that will not just affect your policies, but your terms and contracts as well. Changes to the IR35 rules and agency workers’ rights will also be introduced, in addition to parental bereavement leave so ensure that you stay ahead of the game by having your documents reviewed and updated where necessary.