A brief overview and what might be to come in 2023
Keeping up to date of Employment law changes can be a challenging task as a small business and often new laws or government updates can be missed.
We have been working with GFHR Consulting, an independent HR consultancy to pull together a breakdown of recent and upcoming HR legislation, policy changes and “hot topics” your business may need to be aware of:
• Good Work Plan Changes (April 2020) – Requires employers to be more specific in contracts of employment about various issues such as working hours, benefits, training and leave rights. It also requires that all new employees have a Statement of Terms and conditions from day one of employment (previously it was 8 weeks)
• The Parental Bereavement leave right which also came into force in April 2020, giving all employed parents the right to two weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.
• Right to work in the UK checks have come into sharp focus, not only following Brexit but with general concerns looming large over illegal immigration.
• The remote checking facility that was operating during the covid pandemic has also now come to an end, meaning checks on UK and Irish individuals now must be conducted in person manually again or via an Identity Service Provider (IDSP).
• Employers are advised to ensure their recruiting processes are up to date and in order, to ensure a smooth onboarding process.
• Fit notes can now be certified by pharmacists, nurses, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists acting as Healthcare Professionals, and not just GPs.
• ACAS has published new guidance on staff suspensions, specifically during investigations. The process for suspending someone, supporting an employee’s mental health during suspension and pay and holiday during suspension. Employers and employees must follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (ACAS Code).
There have been various other ‘hot topics’ coming to the forefront following the pandemic and increased awareness such as menopause, mental health/wellbeing issues, hybrid working, long covid, all of which are prompting a flurry of employers to update Handbooks and review and amend their existing employment practices, to be as inclusive and protective as possible.
Employers need to think about whether these are policies they want to incorporate into their business, and we would recommend if they are that you have a policy in place to ensure consistency and fairness in dealing with issues around these subjects.
As we leave 2022 behind and face a somewhat uncertain look at 2023, here is a summary of changes that will be coming up.
• The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Repeal) Bill will automatically repeal any EU law (which includes UK statutory instruments introduced to comply with EU law) so that it expires on 31 December 2023 (although this date can be extended until 31 December 2026), unless specific legislation is introduced to retain it.
• The Bill is predicted to have a significant impact on our existing UK employment law framework. Potentially TUPE, the Working Time Regulations, discrimination law, agency workers, and equal pay, all of which derive from EU law will be scrapped in their entirety or large chunks removed. Details remain to be seen but reactions to what we know so far are reportedly very mixed.
• With the changing decisions of Government, it is important that Payroll departments in each organisation keep abreast of tax changes that are announced and implications for employees.
• Increased rights for Parents – The Government is considering a number of increased rights for parents including:
o Extending redundancy protection for employees from the date they notify the employer of their pregnancy and for a period of six months after the end of their pregnancy, in addition to the current protection that applies during maternity leave. This is expected to be mirrored across adoption leave and other family friendly rights.
o Introducing a new right for employees with caring responsibilities to take a week’s unpaid leave per year.
o Implementing a new right for parents to take an additional week of leave for every week their baby is in neonatal care, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
o These Bills are currently going through Parliament but there is no confirmed timescale yet for when either of these new rights will take effect.
• There are still plans to introduce a duty requiring employers to prevent sexual harassment, including explicit protections from third-party harassment. The time limit for bringing related claims will be looked at and possibly extended to six months.
• There is the perennial talk about reviewing employment status of the existing employee/worker/contractor status categories of workers (following the landmark Supreme Court Uber BV v Aslam case ruling in 2021).
If you feel you need any further advice or support on these issues or on anything else HR related, please contact IAB Marketing firstname.lastname@example.org an we will put you in touch with a member of staff at GFHR consulting https://gfhr.co.uk/
Look out for Gemma from GFHR who will be speaking on our January 2023 coffee morning on 18th January 2023 https://www.iab.org.uk/coffee/.