As well as dealing with the lasting impact of the pandemic, alongside the energy and cost of living crisis, business owners and HR personnel need to be aware of upcoming changes to employment law coming into force this year.

Key changes affecting employers are summarised below:

1. Pay rate changes:

From April 2023 these will include increases to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Leave, Adoption Pay, and Statutory Sick Pay.

Employers need to make sure that staff on family related or sick leave are paid any new rates and review and update policies and staff handbooks.

2. New legislation ahead

In September 2022, the Government published the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, the aim of which is to remove any retained EU law by 31st December 2023.

Unless the UK Government introduce specific legislation derived from the EU then the legislation will be removed from the UK statutes.

There are 3,700 retained EU laws! How many will be kept?

This could impact the Working Time Regulations 1998, the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), and Agency Worker Regulations.

Contracts of employment and staff handbooks will likely require updating and senior employees and HR will need updating and training on how to deal with these potential significant changes.

3. Care Leavers Bill

New law could be implemented this year.

This would introduce a legal right from day one of employment, of up to 5 days unpaid leave for employees responsible for a dependent and for the purposes of arranging or providing care for the dependent.

3. Neonatal leave and pay

A new law anticipated for spring this year means that parents of babies who require neonatal treatment will have the statutory legal right to take an additional weeks’ leave and be paid, up to a maximum of 12 weeks, for each week their child spends in neonatal care.

The right to neonatal care leave will be an entitlement from day one of employment; however, there will be a qualifying date for the pay entitlement.

4. Another extra Bank Holiday

To celebrate the King’s coronation on 8th May 2023 there is an additional bank holiday.

English law allows the dates of bank holidays to be changed by the Government or for other holidays to be declared, for example to celebrate special occasions or for an unprecedented event.

Sectors such as hospitality and leisure, care, retail, manufacturing and transport are among those where the impact to business operations of an unexpected and imminent, additional bank holiday can be much greater.

When it comes to employers’ obligations regarding time off on bank holidays, it depends what exactly is stated within an employee’s contract of employment.

5. Striking

The Government has this January announced emergency new laws that will allow them to set a minimum level of service which must be met during strikes to ensure the safety to members of the public and their access to public services.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill will ensure critical public services including ambulances, fire services, and transport are maintaining a minimum service during strike action. The intention is that this will reduce the risk to life and ensure the public are still able to travel to work.

The sectors the legislation includes also include health and education services.

6. Other anticipated 2023 changes:

At present, measures also likely coming in (though to be confirmed along with dates) are:

  • The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill will extend the protection against redundancy regarding pregnancy, maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave to 18 months post return to work.

  • The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill is likely to afford protections for employees who receive tips and gratuities.

  • The Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill proposes to allow for an employee to have a legal right to take paid time off work to attend fertility appointments and for their partners to take unpaid time off work to accompany them.

  • The Miscarriage Leave Bill proposes a right for employees to have 3 days paid leave due to a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

  • In 2022, the Government introduced the Bill of Rights Bill 2022-23. The Bill aimed to repeal the Human Rights Act 1988 and to create a new domestic human rights framework. Although it was dropped by Liz Truss’ government, it is reported that it is back on the agenda and will continue its parliamentary passage in 2023.

  • In 2022 the Government announced that a new statutory code on dismissal and re-engagement (so-called “fire and re-hire”) would be published. This has not yet come to fruition but is anticipated in the coming months. The Government stated it would require employers to hold “fair, transparent, and meaningful consultations” on proposed changes to employment terms and the code would include practical steps for employers to follow. It is expected to allow tribunals to apply an uplift of up to 25 per cent on employee compensation where the code applies and has unreasonably not been followed.

  • The Government recently announced its intention to replace the UK GDPR with a British data protection system in the form of a Data Protection and Digital Information Bill and a further update is expected.

Farleys specialise in employment law & HR for businesses. If your business requires HR & employment law advice and support in relation to the cost of living crisis and/or in relation to any other specific areas for example, contracts of employment, staff handbooks, absence from work, home-working, apprentices, recruitment, restructures, redundancy, lay-off, short-time working, disciplinaries, grievances, employee exits, settlement agreements, and Employment Tribunal claim or defence and representation, please call 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email through our online contact form.