A quick round-up of recent employment law developments

Statutory Rate Changes

The following changes will take effect in April 2023.

The rates for Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Shared Parental Pay, Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and Maternity Allowance will all increase to £172.48 per week (previously £156.66).

The rate for Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £109.40 per week (previously £99.35).

The annual increase to the minimum wage and national living wage are as follows:-

  • 23+ – £10.42 (previously £9.50)
  • 21-22 – £10.18 (previously £9.18)
  • 18-20 – £7.49 (previously £6.83)
  • 16-17 – £5.28 (previously £4.81)
  • apprentices – £5.28 (previously £4.81)

The accommodation offset will be £9.10 per day (previously £8.70).

Government backs Private Member’s Bills

When the long-anticipated Employment Bill was omitted from the Queen’s Speech in May, the future of several planned employment changes was thrown into doubt. Some of the changes have now been addressed through Private Member’s Bills, which the Government is backing, and will therefore continue their progress through Parliament.

  • The Carer’s Leave Bill will introduce a new and flexible entitlement of one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care. It will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment.
  • The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill will amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA96) to enable the Secretary of State to make regulations providing protection against redundancy “during or after” an individual taking the relevant leave. It will also add a new provision to ERA96 allowing for regulations about redundancy “during, or after” a “protected period of pregnancy”. The explanatory notes to the bill suggest that, by extending protection after a protected period of pregnancy, a woman who has miscarried before informing her employer of her pregnancy will benefit from the redundancy protection.
  • The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill will allow parents to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave each, in addition to other leave entitlements, such as maternity and paternity leave, so that they can spend more time with their baby who, having been born prematurely or sick, is receiving neonatal care in a hospital or other agreed care setting.
  • The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill, will ensure that all tipsgo to workers by making it unlawful for businesses to hold back service charges. It will also give workers a new right to request more information about an employer’s tipping A new statutory Code of Practice will be developed to provide businesses and staff with advice on how tips should be distributed.
Plans to introduce single enforcement body shelved

In December, the Business Secretary, Grant Shapps, confirmed that the much-delayed commitment to introduce a single enforcement body had been put on hold, with the Government more focussed on ensuring that the existing enforcement bodies operate as efficiently as possible.

The proposal for a single enforcement body consolidating three of the existing labour market enforcement bodies (HMRC’s National Minimum Wage Enforcement, Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority) was originally made in the Government’s Good Work Plan in December 2018, and was due to be created under the Employment Bill.

Judicial review of regulations on use of agency workers during strikes

The High Court has granted permission for a legal challenge, brought by 11 trade unions and coordinated by the TUC, against the Government’s new regulations which allow agency workers to fill in for striking workers. The challenge will be heard from late March onwards, alongside separate legal cases launched by TUC-affiliated unions UNISON and NASUWT.

CIPD report identifying seven recommendations to improve equality and diversity

A report prepared by the CIPD, based on the survey responses of over 2000 senior decision-makers in UK organisations, has shown that less than half of employers surveyed (48%) have a stand-alone diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy. In addition, the research showed that 18% of employers that do have a D&I strategy in place take no steps to monitor its effectiveness.

Based on the responses to the survey, the CIPD has made the following recommendations:

  • Build a long-term plan and track its progress.
  • Collect and use data to inform the approach to D&I.
  • Assess the organisation’s approach to people management from a D&I perspective.
  • Empower and train managers on D&I.
  • Support leaders to champion D&I as role models.
  • Tailor the approach to D&I to suit the organisation.
  • Maintain focus on the long-term aims.

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Susannah is a professional support lawyer assisting the lawyers in the employment team.

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Published: 23rd January 2023
Area: Employment

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