Unfolding Employment Law Changes in 2023

The landscape of Employment Law experienced a number of transformations in 2023 with the enactment of legislation implementing by subtle yet significant modifications. While these changes might not have commanded widespread attention, largely due to their nature of refining rather than overhauling existing practices, we are starting to see them come into force.

Stephen Woodman - Solicitor, Employment - gives an overview of these important changes.  

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

Garnering Royal Assent in May 2023, this legislation extends redundancy protections to encompass pregnancy and the period following a parent's return to work from maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave. Notably, it took effect in July 2023, offering an immediate layer of security for working families.

Carer’s Leave Act 2023

This Act introduces a statutory leave entitlement for employees caring for dependants with long-term needs. Although the leave is unpaid, it aims to standardise employer practices, fostering a more equitable environment for carers. The whole Act was in force by December 2023.

Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

This Act empowers workers to request flexible working arrangements from day one of employment. It came into force on 6 April 2024 and is also expected to remove the requirement for employees, in their written request for flexible working, to set out what effect the proposed flexibility would have on the employer’s business and how any effect could be dealt with, increase the number of flexible working requests which can be made in any 12-month period from one to two, and reduce the primary time period within which flexible working requests must be dealt with (including any appeal) from three months to two months.

Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023

Most provisions of this Act are in force, mandating the fair distribution of tips and service charges to workers, barring tax and National Insurance deductions. It also introduces a mechanism for employees to challenge the unlawful withholding of tips, though some aspects may still be awaiting full implementation.

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

This Act, receiving Royal Assent on 24 May 2023, promises up to 12 weeks of paid leave for eligible parents with a newborn in neonatal care, supplementing existing maternity and paternity leave entitlements. Initially thought to come into force in April 2024, its commencement date remains unconfirmed, leaving expectant parents in anticipation of its benefits.

Annual leave and holiday pay

From 1 April 2024, holiday rights for employees will come from Regulation 15B of the Working Time Regulations 1998. This means that the calculation of holiday pay for those staff with irregular hours is changing. Employers will need to make several decisions including whether they want to pay rolled-up holiday pay.

National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW)

The new rates coming into force on 1 April 2024 are: 

  • National Living Wage (21 and over) - £11.44 per hour
  • 18-20 rate: £8.60 per hour
  • 16-17 rate: £6.40 per hour
  • Apprentice rate: £6.40 per hour

Additionally, employees who carry out domestic work while living with their employer will be entitled to the minimum wage. 

How We Can Help

As a business owner and employer, it is crucial to keep abreast of employment legislation to maximize benefits for both your business and your employees. Should you need guidance or consultation on integrating any new laws into your business operations, please contact Stephen or our Employment Services team at 01258459361, or visit our Employment Services webpage.

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