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  • Writer's pictureAlfio Bonanno

2023 Employment Law Changes in a nutshell: What Every Business Needs to Know

With 2023 well underway, the landscape of UK employment law is undergoing significant transformations. These changes, some already in effect and others still under discussion, have far-reaching implications for businesses. This article provides a detailed overview of these changes and their legal implications.

1. National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage Adjustments

From April 2023, the National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over has risen to £10.42 per hour. Concurrently, the National Minimum wage has also seen an increase across various age groups. These changes, already in effect, necessitate a review of payroll budgets and wage structures to ensure compliance.

2. Redundancy Pay Revisions

The redundancy weekly pay limit has increased to £643 on 6 April 2023, with the maximum statutory redundancy pay in total rising to £19,290 on the same date. These changes, already in effect, require businesses to consider these increased costs in their financial planning.

3. The Future of EU Law in the UK

The UK Parliament is expected to decide which remaining EU laws should be retained and incorporated into UK domestic law by the end of 2023, in the form of a new Bill. This change, still under discussion, will require businesses to stay informed and adjust their operational practices and policies accordingly. The new Bill will likely make provisions on key areas of legislation that are currently regulated under:

  • The Agency Workers Regulations 2010

  • The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002

  • The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000

  • The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006

  • The Working Time Regulations 1998

4. Industrial Action Measures

The Government has announced its intention to implement anti-strike measures, which could potentially lead to workers being dismissed for breach of contract for strike action. This change, still under discussion, will require employees working in Fire and rescue services, Health services; Transport services; Education services; Border security; Decommissioning of nuclear installations and management of radioactive waste and spent fuel; to provide minimum service levels

5. Enhancements to Flexible Working Rights

The government has confirmed its intention to introduce new legislation to increase flexible working rights. This includes the removal of the 26-week qualifying period, the ability to make two requests in a 12-month period, and a reduction in employer response time from three months to two. This change, still under discussion, will necessitate a review of flexible working policies and procedures.

6. Introduction of Carer’s Leave

2023 is expected to see the introduction of an annual entitlement to one week’s unpaid leave to care for a dependent from the first day of employment. This change, still under discussion, will require businesses to update their leave policies accordingly.

7. Neonatal Leave and Pay

The introduction of 12 weeks’ neonatal leave and pay for parents of premature babies who require specialist care in a neonatal unit is expected to become law in 2023. This change, still under discussion, will necessitate an update of maternity and paternity leave policies.

8. Extended Redundancy Protection for Pregnant Women and New Mothers

Extended redundancy protections during pregnancy and maternity leave are expected to become law in 2023. Under current provisions, employers must offer suitable alternative employment, where a vacancy exists, to a parent who is on maternity leave if their job is at risk of redundancy. This provision is currently in force until employees return from maternity leave; however, the new provisions aim at extending this protection from the moment employees inform their employer of their pregnancy – whether orally or in writing - up until 18 months after the birth.

9. Changes to Rules on Staff Tips

New rules making it illegal for employers to make deductions from staff tips are expected to be made law in 2023. This change, will require businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector, to review their tipping policies.

10. Continuous Service Changes

There is expected to be an extension of time required to break a period of continuous service, to be increased from one week to four weeks. This change, still under discussion, will necessitate a review of employment contracts and practices.

11. Sexual Harassment - New Duties for Employers

Changes to sexual harassment laws will introduce a duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment, and an extension on the time limit for bringing a claim. This change, still under discussion, will necessitate a review of policies and procedures on sexual harassment.

12. Confidentiality Agreements Restrictions

Changes are due to be made to the rules on confidentiality agreements to ensure that agreements can’t be used to prevent workers from speaking to the police about criminal matters. This change, still under discussion, will require businesses to review their use of confidentiality agreements.

13. Rights to more job security for Casual Workers

New provisions are expected to give workers the right to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service, and requiring employers to provide compensation for shifts cancelled at short notice. This change, still under discussion, will necessitate a review of contractual arrangements and scheduling practices.

14. Pay Gap Reporting Requirements

Ethnicity pay gap reporting may come to the fore once again, following the closed government consultation in 2019. If implemented, this could lead to new data collection and reporting requirements for businesses. This change is still under discussion.

As we navigate these changes, it's crucial for businesses to stay informed and prepared. These changes are not just about compliance, but about understanding and managing in the evolving landscape of employment law.

At EthosHR we are always on top of legislative changes to keep your business compliant with the latest employment legislation. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your business thrive!

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