What does 2023 look like for anticipated and proposed employment law developments?
Retained EU Law
At this time, all retained EU law will be revoked on 31.12.2023 unless a decision is made to keep certain laws. Whether some laws are revoked, the effect of this is that it could affect many of the basic employment rights applicable to UK workers, such as employee protections under TUPE legislation, minimum holiday entitlements, protection for agency workers, part time and fixed term workers and maximum hours of work per week.
Statutory Code of Practice on dismissal and re-engagement
The Government is intending to issue a draft statutory code on dismissal and re-engagement in early 2023, where it is expected that that the code will require employers to consult with employees when they are looking to make changes to their terms and conditions of employment.
If an employer doesn’t follow this code and a case is taken to the employment tribunal, then the courts will be required to take this code into account when hearing the relevant cases. A consequence of this could be that the tribunals will have the ability to uplift an award of compensation by 25% where they believe that an employer has unreasonably failed to follow the code.
Rights originally proposed in the Employment Bill
In 2019 the Queen’s Speech announced that the Government was planning to introduce a new Employment Bill. It is now likely that this Bill will not be introduced, however, some of the areas that were intended to be included in the Bill are still moving forward, but as part of the Government backed Private Members Bills. These are:
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill – when on maternity leave, an employee must be offered suitable alternative employment if they are subject to a redundancy process during that time. The Bill is proposing that the current protected period (from the beginning of pregnancy to the end of maternity leave) is extended and will instead run from the date the employee advises her employer that she is pregnant to 18 months after the birth.
Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill – qualifying parents of children who are receiving, or have received neo-natal care will have a right to up to 12 weeks paid neonatal leave.
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill – currently employees are entitled to apply for flexible working once they have worked continuously for the company for 26 weeks, only one application can be made per year and the employer has three months to communicate the decision to the employee. Under this new Bill, this will change to a day one right, employees can make two requests in any 12-month period and the employer must communicate the decision within two months. #
Carer’s Leave Bill – this will be a new flexible working entitlement for those employees who provide or arrange care for a dependent with a long-term care need of one week’s unpaid leave.
Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill – employers will be required to allocate tips, gratuities and service charges to workers without deductions.
Minimum Service Levels Bill
The Government have introduced a Bill before Parliament that permits employers to require some trade union members to continue working during strike action. This comes about as a result of the recent and ongoing pay disputes across the public sector and has been put in place to ensure that public services are still able to operate during industrial action.
This Bill supersedes the Transport Strike (Minimum Service Levels) Bill that was introduced by the Government in 2022 that affects transport services and would cover education, fire and rescue, NHS, border security and nuclear decommissioning.
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