And the winner is… SME Business owners – what can you expect to happen next?

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With the Conservatives winning the General Election, here are the changes we can expect to see based on their manifesto.

Immigration

A new Australian style points-based immigration system has been proposed by the Conservatives which, will treat EU nationals and non-EU nationals equally and permit them entry to the country where they meet the criteria. Until then…

EU Settlement Scheme

Employers may like to support the UK-based EU/EEA (European Economic Area)/Swiss citizens they employ to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. The Scheme makes it easy for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens and their family members who want to stay in the UK to get the UK immigration status they need.

One million EU citizens and their families from across the UK have now been granted status. Home Office officials are urging employers to help keep up the momentum of applications as we approach Brexit.

In a no-deal scenario, the deadline for applications is 31 December 2020*. However, EU/EEA /Swiss citizens wishing to apply must already be living in the UK.

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who have five years’ continuous residence in the UK by the day they apply will usually get ‘settled status’. Those who have less than five years’ continuous residence will usually get ‘pre-settled status’. They can then apply to change this to ‘settled status’ once they’ve been in the UK for five years. Both ‘pre-settled status’ and ‘settled status’ allow EU/EEA/Swiss citizens to enjoy the same rights and conditions they currently have under free movement.

Family/carer friendly Policies – Neonatal and Parental Leave

Neo-natal leave will be introduced for parents, extending maternity/paternity leave where new-born children are ill and must stay in hospital; there will be a weeks’ extra leave for every week in hospital (where the stay is two weeks or longer).

Those with caring responsibilities will get a right to a week off work; access to paternity leave will be made easier; flexible working will be made the ‘default arrangement’ unless employers have good reasons not to, and pregnant women and new parents will have additional protection during redundancy procedures.

Uncertain work/contractual arrangements

Workers with Zero hours contracts or variable working patterns will be given the right to request a more stable contract, the right to minimum notice of shifts and to compensation for cancelled shifts.

Training/skills fund

A new £3bn ‘National Skills Fund’ has been promised, which is also designed to help organisations find and hire the workers they need to satisfy their Business needs. This fund would provide equal amounts for individuals and smaller organisations to access high-quality education and training, which could prove extremely beneficial in filling existing knowledge gaps in many key industries.

Apprentice Levy

Expect improvements to the apprenticeship levy.

Single enforcement body – stop employers abusing employment law!

A single enforcement body will be created to crack down on any employer abusing employment law. For our hospitality clients – this will include enforcement of plans to prevent employers from keeping any part of workers’ tips.

The Good Work Plan

Includes a review of the employment status framework to add clarity (i.e. the features that make someone an employee, worker or self-employed).

Measures to make it easier for ad hoc employees to accrue continuous service.

There are various changes to employment legislation planned for April 2020, more to come on this subject in a separate blog, or alternatively call us for more information on 0118 324 2526, or sign up to our 6-monthly newsletter via our contact page.

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