Employment Law Updates

Park City Consulting are industry leaders in Human Resources in Essex here to provide you with the latest employment law updates. For more information, feel free to get in touch with our team to find out more about the latest updates.

2024 Employment Law Updates

Following Brexit the government has made a couple of announcements of changes to employment law, including changes to Working Time Regulations, and TUPE including:

  • Allowing ‘rolled-up’ holiday pay. This has been technically unlawful under EU law for some years from 01 April 2024
  • For casual workers and part-year workers (Term time etc.) use the 12.07% calculation for holidays for holiday years starting on or after

01 April 2024

  • Removing the requirement for record-keeping working hours Ref: 122023SP
  • Removing the requirement to consult with appointed representatives when there are fewer than 50 employees in the business and fewer than 10 transferees.

The Immigration Act is making big changes, especially when it comes to fines for businesses hiring illegal workers. To stay out of trouble, it’s important to do strict checks to make sure everyone’s allowed to work in the UK. This means using solid methods to check and update how things work in your HR processes. 

  • First Breach = £45,000 (was £15,000)
  • Repeated Breach = £60,000 (was £20,000)
  New NLW from the 1st of April 2024 Percentage Increase  
National Living Age (21 and over) £11.44 9.8%  
18-20 Year Old Rate £8.60 14.8%  
16-17 Year Old Rate £6.40 21.2%  
Apprentice Rate £6.40 21.2%  
Accommodation Offset £9.99 9.8%  

Significant changes are happening to how we figure out holiday time for part-time and irregular-hour workers. You’ll need to decide if you want to count the hours they work for their holiday (Aaccrual Method) or pay them a bit extra in their hourly rate for holiday time (Rolled-up Holiday Pay). Make sure to update contracts and let your staff know beforehand. 

  • Accrual Method (12.07%)e.g 50 Hours (50 x 12.07% = 6 Hours)
  • Rolled Up Holiday PayPay 12.07% on top of hourly rate

The introduction of this brand-new employment legislation marks a significant milestone in shaping how businesses and employees navigate the workplace. With a focus on enhancing support for employees with long-term care responsibilities for their dependents, this legislation introduces a statutory framework for a specific type of leave, often referred to as carer’s leave. Under this legislation, eligible employees gain the entitlement to take a defined period of leave to provide or arrange care for their dependents facing the mentioned long-term care circumstances.  

The Carer’s Leave Bill will introduce a new right to one week’s unpaid leave in any 12 months. This is an extended right for all employees to provide, or arrange care, for a dependent with a long-term care need. 

The bill contains a specific definition of a dependant, restricting the scope to a spouse, civil partner, child, or parent of the employee. The dependant may live in the same household or reasonably rely on the employee to arrange care and long-term needs. This includes:

  • Someone with an illness or injury that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months.
  • Someone with a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.
  • Someone who requires care for reasons connected to their age.

The provision will be a day-one right, meaning employees do not need to have continuous service to qualify. Please note the employee doesn’t need to take the 1-week leave in one block. When requesting a carer’s leave, the employee must give twice as much notice as the time they are requesting. The employee isn’t required to provide evidence of the reason they are taking leave and the employer isn’t permitted to request evidence.

Employees have the freedom to ask for flexible work arrangements right from the start of their employment. Before, they had to wait for 26 weeks. Additionally, employees can now make two flexible working requests in 12 months, compared to the previous limit of one request per year. Employers now need to manage and respond to flexible working requests, including appeals, within two months, a shorter time frame compared to the previous three-month period. 

Pregnant women and new parents will receive greater protections from redundancy under new legislation.

Under current rules, before offering redundancy to an employee on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave, employers must offer them a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists. The Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Bill introduced will enable this redundancy protection to be extended so it applies to pregnant women as well as new parents returning to work from a relevant form of leave. This will help shield new parents and expectant mothers from workplace discrimination, offering them greater job security at an important time in their lives.

The ‘protected period’ will be extended from when the employer is informed of the pregnancy and will continue to apply for eighteen (18) months after returning from the maternity, adoption or share parental leave.

Paternity leave will be available until the end of the first year after birth or adoption. Currently, they can only take one or two weeks in one block in the first 56 days after birth or adoption but from 6 April they can separate the leave into two separate one-week blocks and take it at any point after birth or adoption up to 52 weeks. Increased flexibility in paternity leave arrangements requires updates to HR policies and manager briefings. Ensure notice requirements are adjusted to comply with the reduced timeline. 

Payment 

From 6 April 2023 

From 6 April 2024  

Statutory sick pay 

£109.40 

£116.75 

Lower earnings limit (per week) 

£123 

£123 

Statutory shared parental pay (ShPP) 

Statutory rate or 90% of employee’s weekly earnings if this is lower. 

£172.48 

£184.03 

Statutory maternity pay (SMP) 

First six weeks – 90% of employee’s average weekly earnings.                                                  Remaining weeks at the statutory rate or 90% of employee’s weekly earnings if this is lower. 

£172.48 

£184.03 

Statutory adoption pay (SAP) 

First six weeks – 90% of employee’s average weekly earnings. 

Remaining weeks at the statutory rate or 90% of employee’s weekly earnings if this is lower. 

£172.48 

£184.03 

Statutory paternity pay (SPP) 

Statutory rate or 90% of employee’s weekly earnings if this is lower. 

£172.48 

£184.03 

Statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP)                                                                                    Statutory rate or 90% of employee’s weekly earnings if this is lower 

£172.48 

£184.03 

The adjustments enable small businesses (with fewer than 50 employees) engaging in TUPE transfers of any magnitude, as well as businesses of any size conducting a small transfer (involving fewer than 10 employees), to directly consult their employees in the absence of established representatives.

This change mainly affects businesses like restaurants, hotels, and beauty salons, where tipping is common. It’s now a new rule for employers to share tips fairly among staff, and bosses can’t keep tips for themselves anymore. Plus, if employees feel they’re not getting their fair share, they can now take their case to a tribunal. This change is about making sure everyone gets a fair deal when it comes to tips, making workplaces more fair for everyone. 

The amendment received royal assent on 30 October 2023 and will come into force in October 2024. A duty requiring employers to prevent sexual harassment will be introduced, including explicit protections from third-party harassment. The time limit for bringing related claims will be looked
at and possibly extended to 6 months.

2023 Employment Law Updates

3 separate sets of draft legislation have been published for Border Security, Passenger rail and Ambulance Services.

New guidance for employers, Trade Unions and workers on issuing work notices in relation to minimum services during strike.

A ban on agency workers during strikes consultation closes on 16 January 2024.

The intention for these regulations is to come into force before the end of 2023.

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) act will enable parents with a responsibility for a child receiving neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks’ additional paid leave. Employees will also be protected from dismissal or detriment if they take this leave. The right to leave will apply from the first day of employment, although similar to maternity, adoption and paternity leave an employee will be required to have at least 26 weeks’ of continuous service to be paid at the usual statutory rate. This bill received royal assent on 24 May 2023 and is expected to be implemented by April 2025.

Following The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act the government is also proposing some changes to the Equality Act 2010 which if approved will be implemented 01 January 2024. These amendments do not introduce any new right or any change it means that those decisions made from ECJ (European Court of Justice) Decisions are preserved after 1 January 2024.

  • Provision to allow claims for indirect discrimination based on association with a protected characteristic. Where those who do not share the characteristics but are disadvantaged the same resulting from the employers’ practice.
  • Adjustment to the term disability to make it clear the reference to ‘normal day activities’ includes a person’s ability to participate fully and effectively in working life on an equal basis as coworkers.
  • Specifically specifying that less favourable treatment due to breastfeeding is direct discrimination on the grounds of sex.
  • Women are protected from unfavourable treatment after they return to work following maternity leave if any less favourable treatment is related to the pregnancy or pregnancy-related problem before their return.
  • Recruitment liability – there can be a liability for unlawful discrimination if an employer makes a derogatory statement bout recruitment if there is no active recruitment process.
  • Extension to the protected period for statutory maternity leave to cover those whose right to maternity leave arises under an occupational scheme.

Following Brexit the government has made a couple of announcements of changes to employment law, including changes to Working Time Regulations and TUPE.

There are differing dates for implementation as below:

  • Allowing ‘rolled-up’ holiday pay for casual (zero hours) or part-year workers (for example term time employees).  This has been technically unlawful under EU law for some years, this will come into force for holiday years starting on or after 01 April 2024.
  • Holiday pay amendments to The Working Time Regulations will clarify what should be included in a calculation of holiday pay for the 4 weeks of holiday (excluding the 1.6 weeks also known as the 8 bank Holidays). The calculation must include Commission, payments for professional or personal status relating to length of service, seniority or professional qualifications, and overtime which has regularly been paid to a worker in the previous 52 weeks.
  • Holiday accrual for irregular-hour workers and part-year workers will be calculated based on 12.07% of the hours worked (as per the previous system). Where an employee is on statutory leave, such as maternity leave then the hours worked can be calculated based on the previous 52 weeks. This will come into force in the holiday year on or after 01 April 2024.
  • Removing the requirement for record-keeping working hours as long as the employer can demonstrate compliance with weekly working limits.
  • Removing the requirement to consult with appointed representatives (for TUPE purposes) when there are fewer than 10 transferees in a business with 50 or fewer employees for transfers taking place on or after 01 July 2024

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 is of significant interest to many. On 31 December 2023, all EU law will remain and be turned into the UK unless it is expressly repealed. The government has confirmed that those that will be revoked include (for Employment Law Purposes):

  • The Community Drivers’ Hours and Working Time (Road Tankers) (Temporary Exception) (Amendment) Regulations 2006
  • The Posted Workers (Enforcement of Employment Rights) Regulations 2016
  • The Posted Workers (Agency Workers) Regulations 2020

The act also means that UK Courts and tribunals will no longer be required to interpret EU-retained law (known as assimilated law) and will no longer be bound by decisions made by the European Court of Justice.

 

  New NLW from the 1st of April 2024 Percentage Increase  
National Living Age (21 and over) £11.44 9.8%  
18-20 Year Old Rate £8.60 14.8%  
16-17 Year Old Rate £6.40 21.2%  
Apprentice Rate £6.40 21.2%  
Accommodation Offset £9.99 9.8%  

 

New legislation has come into force which means that criminal convictions become spent after a shorter time, reducing the period that individuals are legally required to declare them to their employers. 

Type of Conviction Previous length of time required to disclose New length of time required to disclose  
Custodial sentence of over 4 years Never spent 7 years although certain offences are never spent including offences Ref: 102023SP classified as ‘serious violent, sexual and terrorism offences’  
Custodial sentence of 2 ½ years – 4 years 7 years 4 years  
Custodial sentence of 1 – 2 ½ years 4 years 4 years  
Custodial sentence of 6 months – 1 year 4 years 1 year  
Custodial sentence of up to six months 2 years 1 year  

It should be noted the time periods detailed above relate to offenders who are over 18 at the time of conviction. The period of required disclosure is slightly lower when the offender was under 18 at the time of conviction. Employers need to make sure any relevant forms and systems are updated to reflect the new time periods. These changes will not impact roles where basic or enhanced DBS checks are required

 

The new rate of the Real Living Wage was announced and is now in place. Employers committed to paying this voluntary amount however have six months to increase employee pay; this must be done by 1 May 2024.

The 2023 – 24 rates are:
• For workers in London: up from £11.95 to £13.15 per hour
• For workers outside of London: up from £10.90 to £12 per hour

Pensions Extension of Automatic Enrolment Act 2023 received royal assent on 18 September 2023. Once implemented, this will lower the age at which eligible workers must be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme by their employer from 22 to 18. Consultation on implementing the new measures will begin in due course.

Workers Predictable Terms and Conditions Act 2023 received royal assent on 18 September 2023. When in force this will give all workers the right to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks of service and be compensated for shifts canceled at short notice. Expected to come into force in September 2024. 

A law allowing employers to use agency staff to cover for striking workers will be reversed. Court rules that agency staff cannot be used to cover strikes

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill will enhance employees’ requests for flexible working by:

  • Extending the number of flexible working requests an employee can make during a 12-month period from one to two.
  • Every employee has the right to request flexible working from day one of employment.
  • The employer must consult with an employee before refusing the flexible working request.
  • Employees are not required to set out how the employer deals with the effects of the request.
  • Employers are required to respond to a flexible working request within 2 months, instead of three months.

The current statutory reasons for rejecting a flexible working request will remain the same.

This has reached a second reading in the House of Lords.

The Home Office has updated its policy guidance for sponsors in relation to flexible working or hybrid working pattern policies that apply to sponsored workers. Previously, there was no requirement for sponsors to notify the Home Office about sponsored workers’ working-from-home
arrangements. However, the updated guidance documentation now includes additional obligations on the sponsor to report any of the
following.

  • Working at a different site, branch or office;
  • Working remotely from home on a permanent or full-time basis (with little or no requirement to attend a workplace);
  • If the worker has moved or will be moving to, a hybrid working pattern.

Therefore, companies with a sponsorship licence should review the individuals they are sponsoring and report any changes to employees’ working locations as appropriate. In line with the Home Office’s current guidance, this should be reported to the Home Office via the Sponsorship Management System within ten working days of the change.

Initially, the bill set out that EU Law would automatically be removed when it expires on 31 December 2023, unless legislation is introduced to keep it, however, this has now changed to state that all EU law will remain unless it is expressly repealed.

The government have amended the bill to include any law that may be revoked, this includes (for Employment Law Purposes):

  • The Community Drivers’ Hours and Working Time (Road Tankers) (Temporary Exception) (Amendment) Regulations 2006
  • The Posted Workers (Enforcement of Employment Rights) Regulations 2016
  • The Posted Workers (Agency Workers) Regulations 2020

Anything not on the list will remain as it is.

There is to be an additional bank holiday on Monday 8 May following King Charles III coronation on Saturday 6 May.

There is to be an additional bank holiday on Monday 8 May following King Charles III coronation on Saturday 6 May.

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 received royal ascent on 02 May.
A commencement date has not yet been agreed, however when this comes
into force it will mean:
• Employers will have to fairly distribute tips and service charges
between workers (not employees, Workers)
• Employers will have to follow a code of practice (still to be generated)
• Employers will have to have a policy on tip and service charge
allocations
• Employers must keep records of all tips and service charges for 3
years
There will be some further areas of consideration which will be
communicated fully when this comes into force.

Acas published new guidance for employers on making reasonable adjustments for mental health in the workplace.

ACAS Guidance – Reasonable Adjustments for Mental Health | Park City

Annual Tribunal Limit Increase

The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2023 has been published, with the annual increase in tribunal limits.

The key increases are:

  1. Compensatory Award – £105,707 (previously £93,878)
  2. A ‘week’s pay’ (for the basic award and redundancy payments) – £643 (previously £571)

The changes take effect from 6 April 2023 (broadly, for dismissals on or after that date).

The Lower Earnings Limit, the amount over which must be earned to qualify for many employment-related statutory payments, will remain the same at £123. 

New SSP, SMP etc pay rates for 2023/24

The SSP rate will be increased:

SSP will increase from £99.35 per week to £109.40.

New SSP, SMP etc pay rates for 2023/24

Statutory Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Shared Parental/Parental Bereavement Pay

Family-friendly payment rates to increase, including SMPSAPShPPSPP and SPBP

These will all increase from £156.66 per week to £172.48

New SSP, SMP etc pay rates for 2023/24

Age Rate from 1 April 2021 Rate from 1 April 2022 Rate from 1 April 2023
Workers aged 23 and over (NLW)* £8.91 £9.50 £10.42
Workers aged 21-22* £8.36 £9.18 £10.18 
Development rate for workers aged 18-20 £6.56 £6.83 £7.49 
Young workers rate for workers aged 16-17 £4.62 £4.81 £5.28 
Apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of the apprenticeship £4.30 £4.81 £5.28 

Returnership’ programme
During the spring budget, the chancellor announced a ‘returnership’ programme supporting those over 50 back into the workplace. The
government has now produced guidance on setting up a returnership programme which can be located:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employer-guidance-helpingpeople-return-to-work/employer-guidance-helping-people-return-to-work

Gender Pay Gap Reporting
The government has updated the guidance on Gender Pay Gap Reporting (for businesses with over 250 employees)
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gender-pay-gap-reportingguidance-for-employers

As Employees and workers, including zero-hour and agency workers, now have the right to formally request a stable working pattern. The right is available to:

  1. Workers who have worked for the employer for 26 weeks
  2. People who are on work patterns that lack certainty including the number of hours and time they work
  3. Employees who are on fixed-term contracts for less than 12 months

Workers have the right to make two requests a year. The employer has the right to refuse based on specific grounds. For more information contact us.

As a response to the ‘Menopause in the Workplace report, the government has committed to:

  1. Appointing a ‘menopause employment champion’ to work with organisations on formulating menopause policies
  2. Create a government-led menopause in the workplace awareness campaign.

However, it has rejected recommendations to:

  1. Start a ‘menopause leave’ pilot programme
  2. Introduce a dual protected characteristic of sex and age in the Equality Act 2010 to help protect menopausal women at work
  3. Launch a consultation on making menopause a protected characteristic in the Equality Act.

Following the Harpur Trust v Brazel supreme court case, the government has launched a consultation on how holiday entitlement should be calculated for workers with zero-hour or irregular contracts. 

Click here to learn more.  

The ICO Information Commissioner’s Office requested views to help shape its new data protection and employment practices guidance, which will replace the existing Employment Practices Code. The ICO has confirmed that this will be replaced with a web-based hub of guidance covering various employment topics and issues.

The draft guidance will be issued in stages then added to the resource over time. The first two drafts were both published in October 2022, relating to:

(1) monitoring workers at work (this consultation closed on 20 January 2023); 
(2) handling information about workers’ health (this consultation closes on 26 January 2023). We can expect further draft guidance from the ICO to be published for consultation.

There are also proposals to replace UK GDPR legislation with a new data protection framework. The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill was introduced in July 2022, aiming of updating and simplifying the UK’s current data protection framework. This Bill is currently paused, and it is not yet clear when it will be progressed.

The consultation on public sector exit payments (closed in October 2022) was indebted to review views on a new controls process for high-value public sector payments above £95,000 and amendments for special severance payments (i.e. any payments in excess of an employee’s statutory or contractual entitlements). The Government hasn’t yet published its response and there is no confirmed date for when it is to take effect.

There are suggestions that exit packages over £95,000 must be approved by the Secretary of State. This figure of £95,000 includes any relevant statutory, contractual, and discretionary payments due to the employee.

Fire and Rehire refer to when an employer dismisses an employee and rehires them on new terms. The new terms are generally less favourable for the individual than under their previous contract of employment.

It is anticipated a new statutory Code of Practice on dismissal and engagement will be published to be consulted on. The Government aims to clarify its expectations on employers to behave fairly and reasonably when seeking to change employees’ terms and conditions.

The new Code will require employers to hold fair, transparent, and meaningful consultations on the proposed changes to employment terms. Tribunals will also be required to take the new code into account when considering the fairness of dismissals and, if an employer unreasonably fails to comply with the code, tribunals will have the power to uplift any compensation awarded up to 25%.

The consultation closed on 18 April and will now be analysed.

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill gives workers the right to request a predictable work pattern. This will apply to workers with a minimum of 26 weeks’ service, who will be entitled to make up to two applications to request a change to their contractual terms in a 12-month period. As with requests for flexible working, employers will be able to refuse a request for predictable hours on certain specific grounds. This Bill has reached the second reading in the House of Lords. Further regulations will be required to bring these provisions into force, and there is no confirmed timeframe for them to take effect.

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill will make it a duty of employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of employees.

Employers will be liable for harassment of employees by third parties (e.g. clients/customers), unless they have and can evidence they’ve taken all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the sexual harassment. If a tribunal finds the employer is in breach, it can award an uplift of compensation up to 25%. There may also be an increase in the time limit to 6 months.

This bill has been delayed and may even fail due to a lack of parliamentary time. 

The Government has announced an intention to restrict non-compete clauses to a maximum of 3 months after leaving the company. The non-compete clauses will not be restricted during notice periods or garden leave. Currently, there is no timetable given for the implementation and the announcement states when parliamentary time allows.

Following Brexit the government has made a couple of announcements of changes to employment law, they include changes to Working Time Regulations, and TUPE including:

  • Amending holiday to include ‘normal’ holiday leave with ‘additional’ holiday leave, to create one entitlement.
  • Allowing ‘rolled-up’ holiday pay. This has been technically unlawful under EU law for some years.
  • Removing the requirement for record-keeping working hours
  • Removing the requirement to consult with appointed representatives (for TUPE purposes) when there are fewer than 10 transferees. 

2023 Employment Law Updates

From the 5th of December 2022, flexible working requests are a day-one right for employees. Employees are now allowed to make 2 requests per year. For more information, read our latest blog post here.

The government has announced a new online service with the intention of helping employers support employees with disabilities and health conditions – it is aimed at smaller businesses without in-house HR support to ensure they know their legal
obligations as well as how to support the employees with reasonable adjustments.
The test service is live now and will be developed over the next 3 years.

ACAS have published new guidance on suspensions, making it clearer that suspensions should only be in a limited number of cases for a limited number of reasons including:

  • The investigation, for example, if there is a risk of interference with witnesses or
    evidence;
  • The business, if there is a genuine risk to customers, property or business interests;
  • Other staff;
  • The person under investigation.

ACAS also suggest a number of alternative options to be used instead of the suspension including:

  1. Changing shifts
  2. Working in a different part of the organisation
  3. Working from home
  4. Working from a different office or site
  5. Stopping the employee from doing part of their job (eg stock handling, if the allegation concerns stock going missing)
  6. Working with different customers or away from customers
  7. Stopping the employee from using or having access to a specific system or tool

Minimum wage rates from April 2023

 

Rate from April 2023 

Current Rate (April 2022 to March 2023) 

Increase 

National Living Wage 

£10.42 

£9.50 

9.7% 

21-22 year old rate 

£10.18 

£9.18 

10.9% 

18-20 year old rate 

£7.49 

£6.83 

9.7% 

16-17 year old rate 

£5.28 

£4.81 

9.7% 

Apprentice rate 

£5.28 

£4.81 

9.7% 

Accommodation offset 

£9.10 

£8.70 

4.6% 

This private member’s bill, which has government backing, started its progress through Parliament on this date. The Carer’s Leave Bill gives carers one week’s unpaid leave a year to care for a dependent with a long-term care need that is:

  • likely to last more than three months
  • is a disability under the Equality Act 2010
  • connected to old age.

This will be a day-one right for employees. The government committed to the change following a consultation in October 2021.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill is also a private member’s bill which has received government backing. Employees on maternity leave currently must be given priority for suitable alternative employment in a redundancy situation. This bill will start that protection from when an expectant mother, or those adopting a child or taking shared parental leave, notifies their employer of their pregnancy, match for adoption, intention to take shared parental leave and extends for 18 months (about 1 and a half years) from the start of that leave.

Adjusted right-to-work Checks (covid): Adjusted right-to-work checks procedure comes to an end (covid practice of doing the socially distanced check, not Brexit). This has been extended to allow time for employers to get used to the new digital procedures. 

It was intended that temporary digital right-to-work checks would be replaced from 6 April 2022 by certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT), allowing for third-party service providers to carry out digital identity checks. This has however been deferred to 30 September 2022. The temporary changes will remain in place until then. 

The government announcement says the legislation will allow it to ‘amend more easily, repeal and replace’ law derived from the EU which has been kept as part of the Brexit arrangements. The Bill will also include a ‘sunset date’ by which all remaining EU Law will either be removed or absorbed into UK domestic law.

The Bill comes into effect at the end of 2023 and has a transition period up to mid-2026. After this time, regulations derived from EU law including the:

  • Working Time Regulations
  • Agency Workers Regulations
  • Fixed Term Employees Regulations
  • Part-Time Worker Regulations
  • TUPE Regulations

will be removed from UK law unless they are written into new legislation.

The government announced an additional bank holiday on the 19th of September for the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Whether employees can take the time off depends on their contract of employment. For further guidance contact us.

On the 8th of August, the government proposed that separate approval processes should be introduced for public sector exit:

  • Payments at or above £95,000
  • Special severance payments.

Special severance payments are likely to include settlement agreement, garden leave and pay in lieu of notice payments.

Harpur Trust v Brazel – Holiday pay: Zero hours ‘part-year’ workers. The Supreme Court has upheld the Court of Appeal’s judgment that holiday pay for permanent staff who only work part of the year, such as term-time workers, should get a full 5.6 weeks’ annual leave a year, with pay calculated over a 52-week average, rather than on a basis of 12.07%. The same principles apply to those on a zero-hours, variable-hours or casual contract.

The government has decided not to legislate on employment status but to issue non-statutory guidance instead for employers and individuals making it clearer which rights attach to which category of employment (employee, worker and self-employed).

For the first time, employers can use agency workers to carry out the work of striking employees.

The policy includes:

  • No changes to the Equality Act 2010 (on the basis protection against discrimination for menopause is already covered by the sex, age and disability provisions)
  • Setting up a menopause task force to ensure the issue is prioritised in public policy on inclusion and diversity at work (the taskforce had its first meeting in February this year)
  • Appointing government ‘menopause employment champions’ and encouraging larger organisations to do the same.

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill received government backing on the 15th July 2022. As a result, parents whose babies need neonatal care can take 12 weeks (about 3 months)’ of paid leave in addition to their statutory maternity or paternity leave.

The right will:

  • Be available from day one of employment
  • Apply to parents whose babies are admitted to the hospital up to the age of 28 days
  • Apply to babies who need to stay in the hospital for 7 days continuously or more

As of 1st July 2022 nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists working in GP practices or in hospitals will be able to issue and sign fit notes. This new regulation follows the introduction of the digitalisation of Fit Notes.

The government has confirmed that it will introduce new regulations to:

  • Allow employers to use agency workers to plug staffing gaps during strikes (currently it’s unlawful for agencies to supply workers for this purpose)
  • Significantly increase the maximum damages that can be awarded against a trade union taking unlawful industrial action. For unions with 100,000 or more members, the cap on damages – currently  £250,000 – will rise to £1 million.

The regulations apply to England, Scotland and Wales.

Additional bank holiday for Queens Jubilee, worth considering now how that will impact, what does the contract say, are employees entitled to the bank holiday?

Voluntary Living Rate: Final date for implementing the Voluntary living wage increase to £9.90 nationwide and £11.05 for London.

Another review to look into the future of work has been launched. The intent of this review is to build on the recommendations made by Matthew Taylor, a Conservative MP, who did the last review in Teresa May’s government. This review is taking extra consideration into the UK’s post-Brexit labour market, levelling up and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The review will look at:

  1. The link between geography, local labour markets and creating good jobs
  2. The role of automation
  3. Increasing flexibility in labour markets, while preventing exploitative practices and encouraging productivity

This year’s Queen’s Speech contained four bills relevant to employment:

  1. Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill – UK ports now have the power to refuse entry to ships whose crews receive less than the National Minimum Wage. The bill is in response to ferry operator P&O firing its crew and replacing them with agency staff on lower wages.
  2. Modern Slavery Bill – This is a mandatory regulation for companies with an annual turnover of £36 million or more to publish an annual statement on the government’s website outlining the steps they are taking to prevent modern slavery (currently reporting is voluntary). The bill will also introduce fines for companies that don’t report.
  3. Brexit Freedoms Bill – The government has the power to change laws inherited from the UK without having a vote in parliament.
  4. Data Reform Bill – This bill was introduced to shift data privacy away from a box-ticking exercise towards an outcomes-focused framework. The government maintains that the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 have ‘encouraged excessive paperwork’ for businesses.

The government has announced that it will extend the ban on exclusivity clauses currently in place for those on zero hours contracts to workers on or below the Lower Earnings Limit (the threshold that entitles employees to qualify for certain state benefits such as the basic state pension). The lower earnings limit for the current tax year is set at £123 a week and an estimated 1.5 million workers have weekly earnings at or below this level.

Exclusivity clauses in employment contracts prevent workers from working for other employers. The ban on them in zero hours contracts was introduced in 2015.

A week’s pay (basic award/redundancy payment) – £571 (from £544)

Maximum compensatory award – £93,878 (from £89,493)

On the 6th of April 2022 it is no longer a requirement for GPs and Doctors to sign a sick note as evidence of sickness leaves personally. The new regulations allow the document to be issued digitally, this is off the back of the adaptations made during the pandemic.

Employers are now allowed to carry out right to work checks virtually (via video call) to job applicants as a result of the pandemic. This was set to end on 5th April 2022, but has since been extended to 30th September 2022.

The government has also introduced a new service for checking British and Irish citizen’s right to work checks on 6th April. Please note, manual checks are still valid.

Family friendly payment rates will increase, including SMP, SAP, ShPP, SPP and SPBP from £151.97 to £156.66

Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, and shared parental pay rises to £156.66. Employers will have to increase payments for employees away from work on paid family leave from this date.

National Minimum wage and National Living Wages

On the 1st April 2022, the National Living Wage will rise from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour for workers aged 23 years and over. 

On the 15th of March 2022, the government revoked the regulations which required workers in care homes to have the covid 19 vaccination. This was a condition of employment from 11th November 2021. Government guidance on the issue has been withdrawn.

The COVID-19 provisions within the Statutory Sick Pay and Employment and Support Allowance regulations removed.

This includes SSP payments for those isolating (unless too unwell to work), and the payment of SSP from day 1.

All claims under the SSP rebate scheme for covid-related sickness must be submitted, and all amendments to claims made before this date.

Expiration of share codes extended from 30 days to 90 days

On 17 February 2022, the Home Office extended how long a share code lasts for to 90 days, up from 30 days. This means that once the share code, which is given to employers to be used to establish an individuals right to work in the UK, is generated, it will remain valid for 90 days. Under the previous system, it would expire after 30 days and a new one would need to be generated.

This therefore gives employers more time to complete right to work checks for applicants.

Employment Law Updates 2023

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