Upcoming legislation changes to be aware of in 2023
Changes in legislation are coming in April and here we present you with the main changes that will have a huge impact in the upcoming year:
1. National Minimum Wage Increase
There will be an increase in the national minimum wage from April 2023. The increases are as follows;
● National Living Wage for those over 23: £9.50 to £10.42 per hour.
● Young adults aged 21 to 22: £9.18 to £10.18 per hour.
● Ages 18 to 20: £6.83 to £7.49 per hour.
● Rate for 16 to 17-year-olds and apprentices: £4.81 to £5.28 per hour.
2. Flexible Working
The legal framework for flexible working is likely to change. All employees will be granted the right to request flexible work arrangements as of the start of their employment under the new regulations. Employers will have less time to respond (two months, not three) and employees will be permitted to submit two requests in a 12-month period (instead of the current one).
3. Statutory Sick Pay Increase
The new rate will take effect on April 6, 2023. The price will rise from £99.35 to £109.40 per week.
4. Carer’s Leave
An annual week of unpaid leave for caregivers is proposed as a new statutory right. The leave is meant to be used to take pre-arranged time off (as opposed to emergency leave) to handle caring obligations.
5. Neonatal leave and pay
In addition to any maternity or paternity leave benefits, a new statutory leave is being proposed that would permit parents of sick or premature babies to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave. The leave would be a first-day right for new hires and would be available to parents whose children need to stay in the hospital for at least seven days continuously during the first 28 days after birth.
6. Extended redundancy protection for pregnancy & maternity
Significant enhancements to the protection afforded new/expectant mothers and parents from redundancy dismissal are expected to go ahead. Under the reforms, the current protection (priority for suitable alternative employment over other employees at risk of redundancy) is expected to cover the period of maternity leave and last until six months after return from leave. Similar rules are intended to apply after return from adoption or shared parental leave.
7. Sexual harassment
The idea of an employer's liability for third-party harassment of employees or workers at work would be revived under new harassment proposals. In addition, employers would be required to take all reasonable precautions to prevent sexual harassment of their employees, and there would be increased compensation payable in those cases.
8. EU retained law
Unless specific legislation is introduced to retain it, the EU Retained Law Bill (if passed) would automatically repeal all retained EU law as of December 31, 2023 (with the option to postpone that date to June 23, 2026). The idea of EU law being supreme would also be eliminated. This could have an impact on a number of employment rights derived from the EU, including TUPE, paid annual leave, working time rest breaks and hour limits, discrimination and equal pay, and agency, part-time, and fixed-term worker protections.
9. Fire & Rehire
Although no specific date or information has been provided, the UK government says it plans to publish a draft Statutory Code of Practice on dismissal and re-engagement in the "near future.". When the Code is applicable and the employer has blatantly disregarded it, employment tribunals are anticipated to have the authority to increase an employee's compensation by up to 25%.
10. Strike Action
Earlier in 2022, the Government significantly increased the potential liability of unions for calling illegal strikes. The prohibition against hiring agency workers to fill the gap left by workers participating in industrial action was also lifted. In addition, the government has said it is thinking about passing legislation that would make it more difficult for workers to engage in strike action, including:
● Establishing minimum standards for the rail, ambulance, and fire services.
● Raising the percentage of union members needed to support industrial action on the ballot from 40% to 50%;
● The minimum notice period for industrial action could be raised from two weeks to four weeks.