Posted on: 08 January 2020

What you need to know for the new year

As we look ahead for 2020, there are many legislation changes you should be aware of. From increased protection of agency workers to changes in rights for bereaved parents, we’ve summarised 9 new laws being introduced in 2020 that could affect you and your business.

General UK legislation

Organ Donation

As of Spring 2020, a new law referred to as “Max and Keira’s Law” will be brought in. The law states that every person in England will automatically be an organ donor unless you opt-out. The law will look to save more lives of people waiting on organ transplant lists around the UK.

Automatic organ donation, also known as presumed content, is already in place in Wales, where 75% of people are organ donors. Northern Ireland and Scotland do not have presumed consent for organ donation, although Scotland will be introducing an opt-out system in autumn 2020. Northern Ireland is yet to announce an opt-out scheme.

Find out the full story behind Max and Keira’s law here.

Workplace laws

These are some new laws that may affect you as a business depending on the type of work that you do.

IR35

One of the biggest changes coming into effect in 2020 for businesses is the law that could affect how contractors work with their clients.  IR35 will change the way that businesses in the private sector work with their contractors following a trial in the public sector.

The change in legislation is designed to catch tax avoiders who contract to a medium or large business as a sole trader or limited company, when the work could be completed by an employee of the company, thus avoiding tax and National Insurance contributions.

Holiday pay

At the moment, employers will calculate how much holiday pay their employees have earned from an average wage 12 weeks before the holiday that they are taking.

From April 2020, employers will have to calculate the average weekly wage for the full 52 weeks of the year, to be fairer to the employee. For example, if someone works more hours in the summer than they do earlier in the year, they could miss out on holiday pay if they take time off earlier in the year, however, under the new law, their holiday entitlement will be calculated based on a full year’s worth of pay.

Parental Bereavement

A law expected to come into force in early 2020; Parental Bereavement will entitle workers to at least two weeks of leave if a child in their care under the age of 18 dies, including a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy. This leave will be paid if the employee has been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks before the child’s death, otherwise, it will be unpaid.

As this isn’t a law at the moment, employers don’t have to allow this time off.

Good work plan

The Good work plan aims to close a legal loophole which affects agency workers. The loophole, known as the “Swedish derogation”, allows agencies to decide not to match the pay of agency staff to permanent staff when working for the same employer for more than 12 weeks, as long as they paid the agency workers continuously through assignments.

As of the start of the new tax year, 6th April 2020, this loophole will be closed under the Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019.

Driving laws

If you need to drive for your business take note of the following new laws that could affect you in 2020.

Road Tax

As of 1st April, a new system of testing CO2 emissions will be introduced on vehicles registered on or after 1st April 2020.

The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test procedure will measure a vehicle's official fuel consumption, range and emissions to give a more accurate overview of your emissions.

This will come into effect on 1st April for road tax and 6th April for Benefit in Kind on Company Car Tax.

Electric vehicle tax

In an attempt to encourage more people to use electric vehicles for business use, Benefit In Kind rates will become much more favourable to electric cars.

Currently set at a 16% tax rate, the changes to the Benefit In Kind for electric cars will change to 0% in 2020. This will then increase to 1% in 2021 and 2% in 2022.

Mobile phone fines

Currently, the fine for using a mobile device whilst driving is £200 and 6 penalty points, with UK courts able to give fines up to £1,000 for car drivers and £2,500 plus disqualification for bus and HGV drivers, however, this will change in 2020.

Again, looking at another springtime introduction, the new law will update the current law which was brought in 16 years ago and didn’t take into account how the use of smartphones would evolve.

Driving permits and Green Cards

Depending on the kind of relationship that the UK has with the European Union following Brexit, you may have to present a Green Card which includes proof of insurance, when travelling to EU countries. If you have arranged commercial vehicle insurance though Premierline, we can help you obtain a Green Card from your insurer should you be planning to travel in the EU. You may also need to buy an international driving permit, which costs around £5.50 and can be purchased from your local post office.

Whiplash Reforms

A law is coming in for April 2020 that looks to change the way that personal injury claims from road accidents are handled, with particular reference to whiplash.

The ABI estimates that there are more than 1,500 whiplash claims in the UK every day which costs the insurance industry more than £2bn a year. As there are no visible symptoms of whiplash, it has unfortunately become a way for people to claim compensation following a road accident. ICM Research found that of the 253 solicitors that they interviewed, 70% said they thought whiplash claims were made as an easy way to make money.

The new legislation, know at the moment as Whiplash Reforms is an attempt to tackle the high number of claims for whiplash by introducing a fixed amount of compensation where the injury lasts less than two years. Insurers will also increase the small claims track limit from £1,000 to £5,000 for road traffic accident claims.

It is thought that the Whiplash Reforms will bring the down the cost of motor insurance for consumers.

Business insurance with Premierline

With big changes coming in 2020, it is important that you prepare your business for these changes. Make sure that you review your business insurance policy to ensure that you still have adequate cover, and if you are unsure, get in touch with the insurance experts at Premierline who are trained to ensure that you have the best cover for your business.

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