In many respects, sadly not all positive, we will look back on 2022 as a memorable year with the Ukraine war, record heatwaves, Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, death of Queen Elizabeth II, three Prime Ministers, numerous changes of cabinet ministers, strikes and inflation… No doubt 2022 will be the subject of many quiz questions in the years to come.
2022 proved to be a relatively quiet year in terms of changes to employment law. However, with lots of private members Bills already having received government backing, 2023 promises to be altogether more interesting.
We take a look at some of the possible changes for 2023:
Changes to employee’s rights to request flexible working
The government has stated that it will take forward the following measures:
• change to allow the right to request flexible working from day one of employment
• introduce a new requirement for employees to consult with the employee when they intend to reject their flexible working request
• allow 2 statutory requests in any 12-month period (rather than the current one)
• require a decision period of 2 months in respect of a statutory flexible working request (rather than the current three)
• remove the existing requirement that the employee must explain what effect, if any, the change applied for would have on the employer and how that effect might be dealt with
The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill will make it law for employers to provide employees with 100% of the tips left by customers.
It is proposed that tips will be distributed in a fair and transparent manner, so that employees are paid what they have earned. The bill, which would benefit more than two million people, including agency workers, will mean that all tips whether paid in cash or by card will be fairly allocated to all workers without deductions. More guidance will be needed for employers to administer this
Neonatal leave and pay
The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill proposes up to 12 weeks paid leave for employees with responsibility for children receiving neonatal care at a minimum statutory rate in addition to statutory maternity or paternity leave entitlement.
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill
This proposes to extend protection against being made redundant to an employee from the moment that they announce their pregnancy to six months after the end of maternity leave. Similar rights would also be extended to employees taking adoption and shared parental leave.
The Carer’s Leave Bill will introduce a new, flexible entitlement of one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care.
Carer’s Leave will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment. Staff will be able to take the leave flexibly to suit their caring responsibilities and will not need to provide evidence of how the leave is used or who it will be used for.
The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill would introduce two changes to increase the protection of workers from harassment. It would impose a new duty on employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent overtly sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as restore protection against third-party harassment (of all types).
Last, but definitely not least, Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill. Brought forward by Jacob Rees-Mogg, this could bring extraordinary and huge change! The proposal is to repeal the whole of the UK’s retained EU law from the end of December 2023, except for the legislation that the Government chooses to retain. The detail on this one will become clearer as the Bill progresses. Possible changes that have been suggested but not confirmed are:
Changes to TUPE –when employers may harmonise terms and conditions after a transfer.
Agency workers– removal of protections and rights and potentially extending the time before such workers can claim contractual rights, or even completely removing this right.
Part–time and fixed term workers’ rights– potential changes to the rights and protections afforded to ensure that part-time workers enjoy the same level of terms and conditions as full-time workers.
Working time– potential removal of the 48-hour week and changes to entitlement to holiday and breaks.
Trade Union action– potential changes to make it more difficult for trade unions to arrange strike action.
This is definitely one to watch, as if passed, it could have a major impact on both employers and employees.
We will update the blog to keep you posted on the major developments as the year progresses. As ever, if you have employment law queries, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01827 317070 or email my colleagues Kate Johnson or Peter Brady.