HR Bits & Bytes (Sept 2023)

Your round up of employment law updates

 What’s new and of course our recommendations for your business.

The Carer’s Leave Bill – April 2024

Employees with caring responsibilities will have a legal right to take up to five days off each year to carry out those responsibilities for someone who is old, has a disability or an illness/injury likely to require care lasting more than three months.

The days will be unpaid and can be taken in full days or half days.  Relevant notice will need to be given.

This is likely to be implemented in April 2024 and will be a Day 1 right, so no qualifying service needed.

Our recommendation:  This doesn’t involve a ‘new policy’ or full rewrite!  Depending on the type/size of your business ensure that you have a statement as part of your leave policy that covers carers and reflects the changes, what they are and how you propose to handle them. Get ahead and start the review of what you have and how you plan to manage requests now.


Protection from redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave Act) 2023

The act extends the protected period from when an employee announces their pregnancy to 18 months post birth and applies to Shared Parental leave and Adoption Leave.

It covers the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy first, where one exists during a redundancy situation.  The key part here is “suitable vacancy where one exists”.

Under current rules, before offering redundancy to an employee on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave, employers have an obligation to offer them a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists.

The policy intention is that new regulations will apply the protections through an expanded period covering from when a woman tells her employer she is pregnant until 18 months after the birth. The 18-month window ensures that a mother returning from a year of maternity leave can receive 6 months additional redundancy protection. The 18-month window will also apply to Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave.

We know there’s no set time for when these new rights will come into effect, but we now know that it is going to happen, so ……

Our recommendation: Be prepared, review your redundancy policy and process ahead of time, as you will likely need to update the current process and wording to ensure you are covering (and communicating) the new regulations.

*You may have also heard about the potential introduction of neo natal care, our understanding is that this will not be in place until 2025, we will update you if and when we know more.


The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill 

Calling all hospitality businesses, whilst employers don’t have to make any immediate changes, and no statutory code of practice has been created yet, we would advise keeping track of the progress of the Bill and prepare to implement measures to ensure the fair distribution of tips to your teams, which includes workers and employees.

Under the Bill, tips must be paid fairly and not shared under the same employer. They must also be paid to workers by the end of the month following the month the tip was given. This will cover any agency workers who will benefit in the same way as salaried staff and all workers will be able to raise a tribunal claim if they were unfairly allocated tips or not paid them on time. The compensation for claims may be up to £5,000 if made within 12 months.

Our recommendation:  Policy and procedure update.  Workers can request to see parts of these records and raise a separate tribunal claim if records aren’t kept, or their employer doesn’t allow them to see them.

  • Employers will need to have a written tips policy,
  • make this available to workers and
  • keep records for 3 years.

The legislation will only apply where the employer controls or influences the allocation of tips; employers who have no influence into how tips are passed on to workers won’t be directly bound by the new law but it’s beneficial for them to still set some form of framework as to how staff will receive tips.

“Whilst it is expected this will have a positive impact, since employees are receiving the full reward for their hard work, issues may arise over staff not believing that tips are being shared fairly. As such, it’s beneficial for employers to have a clear plan in place, which can be communicated to their teams, to minimise any resistance or grievances.  (CiPD)


Employee Relations (Flexible Working Bill) 2023

This will be a Day 1 right that employers will have to consult with employees before rejecting their request.

There will be a 2-month response time and 2 flexible working requests can be made in any 12 month period permitted.

One of the major changes will be that employees will no longer have to suggest to employers how the employer’s business will be impacted as they do now, although it still remains that there will be no automatic right to receive it.

Our recommendations: This change is expected to be coming in in April 2024 in the meantime start to update your existing policy and if you don’t have a flexible working policy, you will need one if you don’t you are likely to immediately be in breach of the new requirements!


Other updates

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill  – Due 24th Nov 23

Which creates employers’ liability for harassment of employees by 3rd parties and will seek to ensure that employers take all reasonable steps to prevent it,

Reports from earlier this year suggest that the government may drop its support for this, so we’ll keep you posted.

Right to time off for fertility treatment

Again, nothing has been confirmed, but we are watching this one, we understand that there will be a qualifying period as per other policies, but little else has been confirmed.


Pending

Non-compete clauses will have a limit of up to 3 month in the UK under proposed changes by the government.

Consultation on this has now ended and the government have announced the outcome.  Non-compete clauses will be limited by statute to a maximum of 3 months as opposed to indefinitely and will be subject to the test of reasonableness.

Our recommendations: It should be stressed that these changes are not guaranteed to come in, but if they do then this will mean a change to many contracts, so will require notice of the change which could be anything from 30 days.  It will need careful management in terms of both the change and the communication.

Give us a call and we can help you manage this one correctly.

Government consultation response on overturning the Harpur Trust holiday effect.

Following our ShedTalk conversation earlier this year it looks like the decision made may be overturned by the government later this year.

Consultation on retained EU Law changes. 

Consultation has just closed on this one and we are awaiting the updates, although it is expected to be a much watered-down approach to what was originally planned, it does have the potential to be very big in terms of the onus on employers and existing EU law in terms of fewer but bigger changes including:

  • Introducing rolled up holiday pay into law by combining the 2 separate blocks of annual leave into 1
  • Remove EU case law requiring detailed record keeping of working hours
  • Remove the requirement to consult with elected reps during a TUPE transfer for businesses with fewer than 50 employees or for transfers involving fewer than 10 employees

Check out our latest blog post:

Policies, the most overused but ineffective resource in HR?

Author

  • With over 20 years' experience in structuring and growing businesses and teams from inception, through periods of growth and change and finally structuring them ready for sale, Karen and her team have helped dozens of business owners and leaders manage growth and change within their business by concentrating on the human side of running and managing a business. An experienced Organisational Coach and HR Consultant, Karen has extensive experience in working with growth SMEs and a proven background in delivery and development of employees against business goals, her specialism is in working with small and medium size companies, delivering operational, people-based solutions that are commercially focused and enable growth of the business. Karen also works as a Non-Executive Director and Trustee and is a trained Predictive Index (PI) Analyst.

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