Over the last few years, the small business landscape has changed drastically. It’s the same for business law. In this blog post, we’ll discuss all the major legal changes since 2019 so you can make sure your business is fully compliant.
The main changes in business law to note from the last 2 years are around data protection and the way businesses use data. Of course, Covid 19 and Brexit have affected legislation, especially around employing people and existing employees and legislation around debt.
If you want to speak to a solicitor about any legal issues or concerns you might have, click here and we’ll connect you to an expert in that field to have a free, no-commitment consultation.
2019 business law changes
- Increases in National Minimum/Living Wage (all age bands), Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Shared Parental Pay
- Information Commissioner’s Office (IC) publishes new guidance on the use of website cookies, clarifying that several common website practices are not acceptable.
- The Court of Appeal decision in effect changes how holiday pay should be calculated for permanent, casual workers.
2020 business law changes
- Coronavirus Job Retention [Furlough] Scheme introduced. (The rules for this has changed multiple times since).
- Temporary changes to Statutory Sick Pay eligibility and payments due to COVID-19. (The rules for this has changed multiple times since).
- Commercial landlords are temporarily prevented from using their right of re-entry or claiming forfeiture for non-payment of rent. (This measure has been since been extended several times).
- Temporary changes to the ‘Right to work’ employer checking procedure. (This measure has been since been extended several times).
- Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations come into force, allowing staff to carry over up to 4 weeks’ unused holiday into their next 2 holiday years.
- Employers in Great Britain need to give more written information to new employees and workers (either in an employment statement or in their employment contract) and do so earlier (by their start date).
- Parental bereavement leave gives parents the right to 2 weeks’ leave if they experience the death of a child under 18 or a stillbirth.
- Increases in National Minimum/Living Wage (all age bands), Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Shared Parental Pay.
- The holiday pay reference period for workers without fixed hours or pay increases from 12 weeks to 52.
- “Swedish derogation” ends: agency workers must get the same pay and basic working conditions as comparable workers after 12 weeks’ continuous service, even if they’re paid by their agency between assignments.
- Employers with 50+ employees must inform and consult employees before making changes that affect them if 2% of the workforce requests it (previously 10%).
- Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act come into force: Introduces a new moratorium during which struggling companies are protected from creditors.
- Puts restrictions on statutory demands and winding-up petitions.
- Stops larger suppliers from making use of clauses in supply contracts that allow them to take action if the company they’re supplying becomes subject to an insolvency procedure.
- Increases the number of days of unpaid rent before which a commercial landlord can make use of the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery procedure.
- (All the measures in June have since been extended several times).
- New legal obligation on employers to not knowingly allow staff to break a self-isolation instruction in order to work.
- New limits on what past convictions employers can ask applicants to disclose, where the role qualifies for a standard or enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.
2021 business law changes
- The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is replaced in the UK by the UK GDPR (though it is largely the same). The EU GDPR still applies to UK businesses if they offer goods and services to, or monitor the behaviour of, EU residents.
- Supreme Court rules that Uber drivers are workers rather than self-employed. The ruling potentially makes it more likely that ‘self-employed’ staff may be classed as workers if the employer exercises a high degree of control over them (even if their contract says otherwise).
- Changes to the age bands for the National Minimum/Living Wage. The minimum rates also increase, along with those for Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Shared Parental Pay.
- Debt Respite Scheme introduced – individuals with serious debt problems can apply for formal ‘breathing space’. If granted, creditors can’t pursue the debt, charge interest or make contact until the breathing space period is over. More on this in our blog post here.
- A change in law protects workers who reasonably believe there is a serious and imminent danger to their health and safety that they can’t reasonably be expected to prevent. This means they can leave or refuse to return to the workplace, or take other appropriate steps to protect themselves or others. If they do, they must not suffer any detriment – i.e. you can’t penalise them. Previously, this protection only applied to employees. More on this in our blog post – High court ruling over worker Health and safety legislation
- As a result of Brexit, the ‘Right to work’ checking procedure for employers’ changes for staff who are EU citizens.
If you need business legal advice about any of the business law changes above, or any other legal issues you might be experiencing, we can help. Click here to book your free initial consultation and discuss it with an expert solicitor.
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