What’s on the UK Employment Law Timetable

An overview of the legal changes you can expect in 2023 and beyond

Previously all changes to UK employment law were introduced in either April or October. The Coalition Government abolished this set timetable and now changes to employment law take place at different months throughout the year.

Significant employment law changes are anticipated for 2023 and beyond.

National Minimum Wage
April 2023 To be confirmed.
Employment Tribunal Award Limits
April 2023 To be confirmed.
Statutory Payment Rates
April 2023 To be confirmed.
Carer’s Leave
To Be Confirmed The Government consulted on potential Carer’s Leave in 2020 and published their response to that consultation in September 2021. The current plan is to introduce legislation on a right to leave for employees with long-term caring responsibilities, consisting of up to 5 working days of unpaid leave per year. This right would be from ‘day one’ of the employment. However, it has been suggested that employees will be required to give notice of at least twice the length of the notice requested, plus one day, in order to take the new Carer’s Leave.

No timescale for the introduction of carer’s leave was announced.

Read More …
Employment Bill
To Be Confirmed Following the Queen’s Speech, a new Employment Bill appears to be on the horizon in 2020 and will bring together various proposed measures, including:

  • A single enforcement body for the labour market to ensure that vulnerable workers are aware of and can exercise their rights;
  • A requirement for employers to pass on all tips and service charges to workers, and ensure they are distributed fairly;
  • A right for all workers to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service;
  • The extension of redundancy protection to reduce pregnancy and maternity discrimination. Employees will be protected from the point they notify their employer of their pregnancy until six months after the end of their maternity leave;
  • Leave for neonatal care to support parents of premature or sick babies; and
  • A week’s leave for unpaid carers.
Flexible Working
To Be Confirmed Currently employees must have worked for 26 weeks to be eligible to request flexible working, but the Government is expected to make the right to request flexible working the default from ‘day one’ of employment. The Government has said that they are cautious that employers should always be able to turn down the request by the employee for flexible working, so the new legislation will have to protect this employer’s right.

The Government is currently consulting on reforms to the Flexible Working Regulations 2014 to reflect changing attitudes to flexible working. The consultation looks at:

  • making the right to request flexible working a ‘day one right’
  • changing the administrative process regarding frequency of requests and time to respond
  • validating whether the eight prescribed business reasons that employers can put forward to reject a flexible
    working request are still fit for purpose

  • requiring employers that have concluded that a request cannot be accommodated to show that they have
    considered possible alternative working arrangements

  • raising awareness that it is possible for employers to agree to temporary flexible working arrangements
Read More …
Income Tax Personal Allowance Linked to National Minimum Wage
To Be Confirmed Any increase in the income tax personal allowance will take into account national minimum wage increases to ensure that workers on the national minimum wage working up to 30 hours per week do not pay income tax. The new measure is contained in the Finance (No.2) Act 2015.
Increase to the Length of Time Required for Continuity of Employment To Be Broken
To Be Confirmed The time required to break a period of continuous service extends from one week to four weeks. Employees can have a gap of up to four weeks in their service with an employer without it affecting their entitlement to statutory employment rights. The Government’s Good work plan states that the extension of time will make it easier for employees who work intermittently over a period of time for the same employer to access their rights.
Neonatal Leave
To Be Confirmed Following a Government consultation in 2019, the commitment to a new Neonatal Leave was reiterated recently in a Parliamentary debate. This new form of leave would take the form of an additional week away from work for every week that a parent’s baby is in neonatal care (the definition of which is yet to be decided), with a maximum of 12 weeks’ leave being permitted. This right would be permitted for those with 26 weeks’ service who earn above the minimum pay threshold, and they will be entitled to pay during this period of leave at the current statutory rate.

No timescale for the introduction of neonatal leave was announced.

New Right for Workers to Request a More Predictable Contract
To Be Confirmed All workers will have the right to request a more predictable and stable contractual working pattern after 26 weeks’ continuous service. The new right was announced in the Government’s Good work plan on 17 December 2018. It is intended to benefit workers who have irregular hours, for example under a zero hours contract, but who would like more certainty on the number of hours they work and/or the days on which they work.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
To Be Confirmed Another recently published response to a Government consultation confirms that the Government is to introduce a new duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment, and will support further protections from third-party harassment in the work environment. There are also suggestions that the time limit to bring a claim for sexual harassment at work under the Equality Act may be extended from 3 months to 6 months, allowing more victims of harassment to bring their claims.

Alongside this, the Government has pledged to offer more support to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (which is the statutory body responsible for enforcing equality legislation) by enabling it to take further action against employers who fail to comply with their current obligations. It is anticipated that a new statutory Code of Practice will be published in the coming year, along with accessible guidance for employers on what they need to do to ensure the safety of their employees.

Tips and Gratuities in the Hospitality Sector
To Be Confirmed In September 2021 the Government published their response to the consultation on tipping, gratuities, cover and service charges. This response confirmed that legislation will be introduced requiring employers in all sectors not to make any deductions, other than those required by tax law, from tips received by staff.  Employers will also have to distribute tips in a fair and transparent way, have a written policy on tips and record how tips are dealt with.  Employees will be able to request information from their employer about their tipping record and this must be responded to within 4 weeks.  A statutory Code of Practice, that employers must have regard to, is to be produced.  Should any of these rights be breached workers will be able to make claims to an employment tribunal.

A new statutory Code of Practice covering this is expected to be introduced in 2022, replacing the existing voluntary Code.

Extension of Shared Parental Leave and Pay to Working Grandparents
Unknown The Government had announced that they intended to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents from 2018, allowing mothers to share maternity leave with one nominated working grandparent. A consultation on the extension was expected in May 2016, however, on 7 November 2017, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed that there are no imminent plans to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents.
State Pension Age Rises to 67 Years
Between 2034 and 2036 The Pensions Act 2007 raises the state pension age for men and women to 67. This will occur between April 2034 and April 2036. The Act can be viewed on the OPSI website.
State Pension Age Rises to 68 Years
Between 2034 and 2036 The Pensions Act 2007 raises the state pension age for men and women to 68. This will occur between April 2044 and April 2046. The Act can be viewed on the OPSI website.
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