Organ donation, Parental Leave, Help to Buy and other major laws changing in 2020 - what you need to know
The law is a funny thing - and ignorance, as they say, is no defence. So don't get caught out, simply read up on the laws, regulations and loopholes changing in 2020.
Organ donation: Opt out system
From spring 2020, organ donation in England will move to an 'opt out' system - often referred to as 'Max and Keira's Law'.
This means all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die - unless of course they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the desginated excluded groups.
The law is being changed to help save more lives and ensure more organs are available to help those desperately in need and on waiting lists. Every day across the UK, someone dies waiting for a transplant.
The NHS is asking everyone to record your organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register
Help to buy changes - new Help to Buy scheme announced
The government has announced a new Help to Buy scheme which will replace the existing scheme, running from April 2021.
It is still reserved only to first-time buyers and will include regional property price caps, which is to ensure the scheme reaches people who need it most such as those battling to get onto the property ladder.
The new scheme will run from April 2021 to March 2023. As with the current scheme, under the new scheme, the government will lend buyers up to 20 per cent of the cost of a home, and up to 40 per cent in London.
State pension boost
Pensions are set for a boost in the new year: they are set to rise by 3.9%, which will see those receiving the old state pension receive a boost of £5.05 a week, taking the total to £134.25.
Agency workers' pay
The government made a pledge back in December 2018 to close a legal loophole which covers the use of agency workers. This allowed agencies to opt out of paying agency staff equally to full time staff. This is set to be closed on April 6, 2020 when the Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019 come into force.
Tax on termination payments
Termination payments totalling more than £30,000 will become subject to employer National Insurance Contributions as of this year. The change was due to come into effect in April 2018 but was delayed for two years.
Parental bereavement leave
The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 is set to come into force in April this coming year and will give employed parents the right to two weeks off work, enshrined and fully protected in law, if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy onward.
Better protection for puppies and kittens sold from 'puppy farms'
A new law is being introduced to better protect against so-called 'puppy farms', where animals are bred in poor conditions.
'Lucy's Law' will ban the sale of puppies and kittens from third party sellers, forcing buyers to deal directly with breeders or rehoming centres.
When it comes into force in April, the new legislation requires puppies and kittens in England to be born and raised in a safe environment, kept with their mum and only sold from their place of birth, cutting out unsavoury animal dealers.