There are a number of developments in employment law that are anticipated throughout 2023. Although some of the changes are uncertain at present, it is important that employers keep updated and are prepared to take the appropriate measures to ensure they are adhering to the law, upholding their reputation, and avoiding claims being brought against them. Some of the key developments are summarised below:
1. National minimum wage increases – from 1 April 2023
– The National Living Wage rate for workers aged 23 and over will rise to £10.42 from 1 April 2023, which is an increase of 92 pence or 9.7%.
– The rates of other minimum wage bands will also increase as follows:
- 21-22-year-old rate: £10.18
- 18-20-year-old rate: £7.49
- Workers under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age: £5.28
2. Statutory family related pay and sick pay rate increases – from 2 April 2023 and 6 April 2023
– The weekly level of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and parental bereavement leave pay will increase from £156.66 to £172.48 per week on 2 April 2023.
– Statutory sick pay rises from £99.35 to £109.40 per week on 6 April 2023.
3. One-off bank holiday – 8 May 2023
– The one-off bank holiday is fast approaching on 8 May 2023 in celebration of the coronation of King Charles III, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday 6 May 2023.
– This is a reminder to employers that they need to consider whether their employees are entitled to the additional day off and whether they will be paid for it by reviewing terms of their employment contracts.
4. Update on anticipated legislation
Below is a summary of some of the key legislative changes which are anticipated to take effect in 2023. If the bills outlined below become law then they will likely have a significant impact on both employers and employees.
|Name of The Bill||Current status of the Bill||Summary of possible impacts|
|The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill)||Pending report stage in the House of Lords.||Retained EU law will be automatically repealed on 31 December 2023 unless the Government decides to keep or replace them.
Examples of affected law will include the Working Time Directive, Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations and Part-Time Worker Regulations.
This means that there is a vast amount of uncertainty for employees whose rights could soon change due to the Bill and employers that must have measures in place to ensure they are adhering to the law.
|Carer’s Leave Bill||Pending committee stage in the House of Lords.||Employees would have a day one right to have up to 5 working days of unpaid leave in order to arrange or provide care for a dependent with a long-term care need.
Such employees would also have protection from detriment/dismissal as a result of taking such leave.
|The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill||Pending report stage in the House of Lords.||Employees that work in certain critical industries such as health, transport and education would be required to work a minimum level of service, even during strikes.|
|The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill||Pending third reading in the House of Lords.||Employers would have a legal obligation to distribute tips, gratuities and service charges to workers without deductions.|
|Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill||Pending committee stage in the House of Lords.||Employees who have babies that need hospital neonatal care would have extended rights to statutory leave and pay.|
|The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill||Pending committee stage in the House of Lords.||If a redundancy situation arises when an employee is on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, the employer would need to prioritise the employee in offering suitable alternative vacancies where they exist and this protection would apply from when an employee tells their employer they’re pregnant until 18 months after birth. Failure to do so could leave employers vulnerable to claims such as automatically unfair dismissal.|
|The Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill||Pending second reading in the House of Commons.||Employees would be given a statutory right to take time off work to attend fertility treatment clinic appointments and for connected purposes.|
|Miscarriage Leave Bill||Pending second reading in the House of Commons.||Employees that have had a miscarriage before 24 weeks of pregnancy would be entitled to three days of paid leave.|
|The Bill of Rights Bill||Pending second reading in the House of Commons.||The law relating to human rights would be reformed, which is often taken into consideration by the Employment Tribunal in decision making.|
5. ‘Fire and rehire’ Statutory Code
– The Government has now published a draft Statutory Code of Practice that sets out employers’ responsibilities when seeking to change employment conditions if there is the prospect of dismissal and re-engagement on new terms. The Code would require employers to consult staff and consider alternative options without using the threat of dismissal to pressure employees into agreeing to the new terms of employment.
– The Government has asked for views on the draft to be submitted and it will then analyse submissions before publishing a response and final version of the Code.
– The deadline for submissions is 18 April 2023 but we do not yet know when the Code will be brought into force.
6. Discrimination Claims: Amendments to the Vento Guidelines
– When an employee brings a discrimination claim against their employer before the Employment Tribunal, the Tribunal can decide to make a compensatory award for injury to feelings.
– Such an award is intended to compensate an individual, for example, where they have experienced distress and offence as a consequence of their employer’s discriminatory action against them. Awards for injury to feelings are assessed by using what are known as ‘Vento bands.’
– In respect of claims presented on or after 6 April 2023, the “Vento Bands” will be amended as follows:
- Lower band = £1,100 – £11,200 (less serious cases)
- Middle band = £11,200 to £33,700 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band)
- Upper band = £33,700 to £56,200 (the most serious cases)
- The most serious cases = capable of exceeding £56,200
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