Latest regulatory updates

Last updated 31st January 2020Kurt Janson

Kurt Janson, Director of the Tourism Alliance, gives a monthly update on the latest regulatory changes affecting the hospitality industry. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Pink Book of Legislation, we regret that we cannot be responsible for any errors. Read our full disclaimer

New employment legislation

There are a number of forthcoming changes to employment legislation that will impact on small businesses. While the changes won’t take place until 6th April, it is important to know what they are and to plan for them so you are not taken by surprise in a few months’ time.

New rules on calculating holiday pay

One of the changes is how holiday pay is calculated. At the moment, you are required to calculate holiday pay on the basis of the average wage an employee has earned over the previous 12 weeks. However, from 6th April, you will be required to base this calculation on the average weekly wage that the employee earned over the previous 52 weeks.

While the impact of this change will be minimal for full-time staff, it could result in considerable changes to the holiday pay entitlement for staff that work flexible hours, for example due to seasonal demand.

At the moment the calculation of holiday pay for a hotel worker on flexible hours who is seeking leave in May would be based on their wages during the period from February through to April – a period when the hotel may not have been busy and the hours they worked could have been low.

However, under the new methodology, the worker’s earnings over the previous summer high season would also be included. This could significantly boost their average weekly wage, and therefore holiday pay entitlement.

Written Statement of Particulars

Another change is to the Statement of Particulars that you are required to provide to all new employees. At the moment you must provide this to employees within two months of the date that they start work. However, from 6th April 2020, this must be provided on the day that they start work.

The information provided in the statement has also been expanded and must now include:

  • Whether the job is permanent or the end date if it is for a fixed period
  • How much notice the employer and worker are required to give to terminate the agreement
  • Details of the employee’s eligibility for sick leave and pay
  • Details of other types of paid leave (e.g. holiday entitlements and maternity leave)
  • The duration and conditions of any probationary period
  • Details of all benefits associated with the job (e.g. health insurance or meals)
  • Details of the working hours and days of the week the worker is required to work, whether these are variable, and if they are, how variations are to be determined
  • Details of any training you provide, any training you provide that the employee is required to complete, and any other training that the employee is required to complete that you are not providing.

The starting point for complying with these new requirements is to review your standard employment contracts to make sure that they include all this information. While much of the information will be reasonably generic, particular attention needs to be given to the hours and days of work for employees on flexible hours and the process by which their hours are determined.

Parental Bereavement Leave

Finally, a new entitlement being introduced on 6th April 2020 called Parental Bereavement Leave. This is a two week leave period that employees are entitled to if they have a child that dies before the age of 18. The leave is unpaid, but there is no qualification period, meaning that it applies from the date that the person is employed.

It is important to note that parental bereavement also applies in situations where a couple have suffered a stillbirth or miscarriage from the 24th week of pregnancy.