EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE
With the new financial year comes a number of changes to the landscape and practice of Employment Law in the United Kingdom.
Below are some of the changes/proposed changes to expect from 1 April 2023.
- Increase in Minimum Wage
The National Living and Minimum Wage rates are set to increase from 1 April 2023. These rates provide employees with a statutory employment right to a wage not lower than that set by the Government.
As of 1 April 2023, the new rates will be as follows:
- National Living Wage – increase from £9.50 to £10.42 an hour;
- 21 – 22 year old – increase from £9.18 to £10.18 an hour;
- 18 – 20 year old – increase from £6.83 to £7.49 an hour;
- 16 – 17 year old – increase from £4.81 to £5.28 an hour; and
- Apprentices – increase from £4.81 to £5.28 an hour.
The changes also see an increase in the Accommodation Offset from £8.70 to £9.10 daily.
- Increase in Statutory Benefit Payments
In addition to the increase in Minimum Wage, The Department of Work and Pensions have announced new rates for statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, and shared parental leave.
We will see an increase in the above payments from £156.66 to £172.48 a week as of 2 April 2023.
Statutory sick pay is also set to rise from £99.35 to £109.40 a week as of 2 April 2023.
- Proposed new right to request a predictable work pattern
The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill is being supported by the Government and is set to create a Government commitment to provide a statutory right to workers and agency workers whose existing working patterns lack certainty (e.g. workers on zero hour contract or those with a fixed term contract of less than 12 months) to request a predictable work pattern.
An employee will be limited to a maximum of 2 statutory requests in a 12 month period.
Workers must first have worked for their employer for a set period before they make their application. This period will be set out in regulations, but it is expected to be 26 weeks (this does not need to be continuous). This same criteria will apply to agency workers who will be required to have worked for their hirer for at least 12 weeks continuously during the 26-week period.
- Carer’s Leave Bill
The Carer’s Leave Bill has secured Government support and is now on its journey through the House of Lords. The Bill is set to provide employees who act in a carer capacity with a day one right to take one week’s unpaid leave a year for planned caring commitments.
- Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill
Under current rules, pregnant employees are protected from redundancy whilst on maternity or parental leave. The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill seeks to extend this protection to apply to pregnant employees before they start maternity leave and after their return to work (for a period of 6 months). The new bill will also look to protect new parents returning to work from adoption leave/shared parental leave.
- Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill
The new Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill is set to provide a statutory right for up to 12 weeks’ paid time off work for parents of newborn babies (up to the age of 28 days) who require neonatal care for a continuous period of 7 days or more. This will be in addition to other parental leave entitlements i.e. maternity, paternity and share parental leave.
- Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill
The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill is set to place a greater obligation on the employer and will look to require that all tips and service charges must be paid to workers without any deduction and by the end of the following month. This obligation is also set to extend the duty so that employers are to have a written policy in place regarding the allocation of tips to display transparency and fairness in distribution between workers.
- Draft ‘Fire and Rehire’ Code of Practice
On 24 January 2023, the Government published a draft Code of Practice to provide guidance for employers in their dismissal and engagement procedures. The Code is set to ensure that employees have been provided information on any proposed contractual changes, that they have been consulted and that their employer has explored alternatives without the threat of dismissal.
If an employer fails to follow the Code, the Tribunal will take this into account and will be able to uplift an employee’s compensation by up to 25%.
If you are either an employer or employee and require advice on any employment law issues, please contact Hatchers Solicitors’ Employment Law Team on 01743 248545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.