March Snippets
Sentient Group Ltd
Info Update 2020/06                                                         Issue Date: 11/03/2020
March Snippets
In a break away from our usual style of keeping each update to a single topic, we have a few topics, which only require a brief comment or two. This update is therefore the first in a ‘snippets’ style which we will adopt from time to time.

Statutory Sick Pay and Covid19
The Government have announced that there will be emergency legislation to remove the 3 Waiting Days before SSP kicks in. The draft legislation has yet to be published, therefore we await the details. 

Practically it means that employees off sick will be entitled (assuming they meet all SSP qualification criteria) to SSP from day one if they need to self-isolate or need time off because they have contracted COVID-19 (however mildly). The requirement to self-isolate is not a decision that individual employees can take. If your employee advises you that they intend to self-isolate, they should provide evidence in the form of a Self-Isolation Notice issued by Public Health England. The Government hopes this will encourage people not to attempt to come to work and infect a wider pool of people just to avoid not being paid.
News just in: The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the Government will reimburse small employers (i.e. under 250 employees) any SSP they pay to employees for the first 14 days of sickness.  Again we await the detail; and we will keep you updated. 

Bank Holiday Change - Reminder:
Back in June, the government announced the early May bank holiday in 2020, originally set for Monday 4th May, would be changed to Friday 8th May. The reason for this change is to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

This will only be of interest to those organisations that recognise bank holidays, and it is open to the employer whether to recognises the change from Monday 4th May to Friday 8th May. If you have not already, you should let employees/workers know which day is being recognised as the bank holiday. Again, if you have not already, you may need to assess whether this change impacts upon the holiday entitlement of part time personnel.

Free online counter-terrorism training
Free counter-terrorism training is being offered to every member of the public so you can learn how to spot suspicious behaviour or items and understand what to do in the event of a bomb threat or major incident.

The 45-minute training package was developed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in 2017 for staff working in crowded locations such as shopping centres and entertainment venues.

Whilst we hope you are never caught up in a terrorist incident, we encourage you to complete this course, as it may help keep you and others safe in the event of a terror attack. Please share this information with your colleagues and employees; it could save lives.

To access the course send an email to with the subject “PIN request for ACT e-learning” to request a PIN code. That will give you privileged access to the ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) e-learning. Once they have replied with your PIN, go to the e-learning site to log in and begin the training. We have done it and found it very interactive and informative.

April 2020 – Holiday calculations
As you know workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid holiday in each complete holiday year. In the last few years the issue of what workers are paid when on holiday has been the subject to significant volume of litigation. It has been held that commission payments and overtime payments should be included in the holiday pay calculation, meaning that holiday pay has had to be based on an average calculation.

New legislation from 6th April 2020 changes the reference period that applies for calculating an average week’s pay where a worker has variable remuneration. Variation occurs when either there are normal working hours but the remuneration varies with the amount of work done or the time the work is done, or because the worker does not have normal working hours and works a variable number of hours.

Where a worker has been employed by their employer for at least 52 weeks, the reference period is increased to 52 weeks. Where a worker has been employed by their employer for less than 52 weeks, the reference period is the number of weeks for which the worker has been employed.
Where earlier weeks must be brought into account because the reference period contains weeks in which no remuneration was payable (as previously) remains; but what is new is that no account is taken of weeks preceeding the 104 weeks before the beginning of the period of leave.  Where this gives fewer than 52 weeks to take into account, the reference period is reduced to that number of weeks. We wait to see how this shall apply in practice.  
Coming up
In our next Information Update, we will discuss the changes required to the content of the Principal Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment, and also when the document should be issued, again these changes take effect on 6th April 2020.
The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of the law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.
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