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Summary of 2023 Employment Law Reforms
2023 has witnessed several reforms in employment law. Let’s take a concise look at the notable changes that have unfolded throughout the year.
Last updated: 21 Dec 2023
Private Members Bill – Family Friendly employment law rights
Three Private Members’ Bill obtained Royal Assent on 24 May 2023.
Carer’s Leaver Act 2023
This Act establishes a day-one entitlement for eligible employees to take one week of unpaid leave to care for a dependent. Eligible employees can flexibly take this in days or half-days. This Act came into force 4 December 2023.
Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023
Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 allows paid time off for parents whose baby is receiving neonatal care. The expected date for implementation is April 2025.
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023
New parents will have extended protection when they return to work from maternity, adoption and shared parental leave. During the protected period, the employer may need to provide a suitable alternative vacancy. Currently no date for implementation.
Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023
This Act received Royal Assent in May 2023. The Act requires employers to fairly allocate tips, gratuities and service charges and pay them to workers in full. A written policy outlining the distribution of tips is necessary for regular tip compensation.
A new statutory code of practice will provide guidance to employers to enable them to meet these new obligations. Non-compliance with the code of practice can be presented as evidence in tribunal claims.
Flexible Working – Employee Relations Act 2023
The Flexible Working Bill also known as the Employee Relations Bill passed the third reading on 14 July. It received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023 and the bill is now an Act of Parliament. Key changes under the Act:
- Employees can now make two flexible requests in 12 months, whereas previously they could only make one request
- Employer must respond within two months
- Employer must consult with employee and explore available options before refusing
The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 have been approved by Parliament and comes into force on 6th April 2024. The Regulations remove the 26-week qualifying period before employees can request flexible working making it a day-one right. This new right will come into effect for flexible working requests made on or after 6 April 2024.
In response to these changes, ACAS is updating its statutory Code of Practice on handling in a reasonable manner requests to work flexibly.
Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023
This Act received Royal Assent on 18 September 2023. The Act give workers and agency workers the right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work. This applies if:
- there is a lack of predictability regarding the work pattern
- a worker works under a worker’s contract with a fixed term of 12 months or less
Workers are expected to fulfil a minimum service requirement of 26 weeks and can submit two applications within any 12-month period. Rejections are permissible only on statutory grounds, and decisions must be rendered within one month.
Grounds for refusal of a request for predictable work:
- Burden of additional costs
- Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
- Detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff
- Detrimental impact on other aspects of the employer’s business
- Insufficiency of work during the periods the worker proposes to work
- Planned structural changes
- Such other grounds as may be specified in regulations
The Act is expected to come into force around September 2024. ACAS will develop a code of practice outlining the procedures for handling requests.
Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023
The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023. The Act creates a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment. Previous plans to reintroduce employer’s liability for third party harassment have been dropped. If there is non-compliance, employment tribunals have the power to uplift compensation by up to 25%.
The Act is expected to come into force in October 2024.
Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023
Holiday Pay for Irregular and Part-Year Workers: there are new rules for part year and irregular hours workers. The new legislation permits employers to pay rolled-up holiday pay. In relation to leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024, employers will be allowed to pay rolled-up holiday pay. Employers will calculate entitlement at the rate of 12.07% of hours worked in a pay period rather than monthly.
Working Time Regulations (WTR): elimination of the additional requirement to record all working hours and rest hours, provided employers can demonstrate compliance with WTR without it.
Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment rights (TUPE): from 1 July 2024, direct consultation with employees on TUPE transfer will be possible if there are no existing representatives in place and either the business has fewer than 50 employees; or the transfer involves 10 or fewer employee.