Spring Clean Your HR Policies

Employment legislation is constantly changing and your HR policies can easily get out of date.

Remaining compliant with UK Employment Legislation can be a real headache because it’s constantly changing. Some of these changes occur annually and are easy to prepare for, such as national minimum wage increases. Historically changes to UK employment law were introduced in either April or October each year. However, the Cameron-Clegg Coalition Government (2010-2015) abolished this set timetable and since then changes to employment law take place throughout the year. On top of that there are tribunal rulings that can affect how we interpret legislation. The last few years have seen reams of Covid-19 legislation come and go and now we are starting to see the start of the review of EU legislation following Brexit. Given the recent changes and what is on the horizon this year is a good time to spring clean your HR policies.

This page was first published on 10 April 2007 and the latest update was on 12 April 2023.

When were your HR Policies last reviewed? I still see employee handbooks that do not reflect the Acas Code of Practice in Discipline and Grievance Matters that was introduced in April 2009!

Key policies that have changed in the last few years include:

  • Bank Holidays – introduced additional days have become common over the last few years and 2023 will see another additional day for the Kings Coronation in May 2023
  • Bereavement Leave – introduced for employees who suffer the death of a child after 24 weeks of pregnancy up to the age of 18 and enables them to take two weeks paid leave
  • Contracts of Employment – changed on 6 April 2020, the requirement for employers to provide a Section 1 Statement (in accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996) became a ‘day one’ right. The rules about what must be included in the Section 1 Statement also changed, reducing the opportunity to refer out to another document such as an Employee Handbook.
  • Zero Hours Contracts – changed following the ban on the use of exclusivity clauses in May 2015
  • Shared Parental Leave – introduced for mothers and fathers of babies due on or after 6 April 2015
  • Adoption Leave – changed to mirror Maternity Leave and Pay in April 2015
  • Maternity and Paternity Leave – extended to allow fathers to attend ante-natal appointments in October 2014
  • Flexible Working – extended to all employees from June 2014
  • Parental Leave – extended to 18 weeks in March 2013
  • Retirement – removed by the Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations April 2011

If any of these policies have not been updated since the associated legislation was introduced or changed then your Contracts of Employment, Employee Handbook or individual policies, are overdue a review.

Employment Law Bills That Are High On The Governments Agenda For 2023

  • Tips, Gratuities and Service Charges. The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill will make it unlawful for businesses to hold back tips and service charges from workers. Employers will have to distribute tips in a fair and transparent way and keep records of how tips have been dealt with. Workers will have a new right to request more information about their tipping record and such requests must be responded to within 4 weeks. Businesses will also have to have a written policy on dealing with tips and workers will be able to bring employment tribunal claims if their employer has not dealt with tips correctly.
    The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and progressed to the House of Lords where it had its second reading on 3 March 2024. On 27 March the Bill reached the committee stage but no changes were suggested so it is now scheduled to have its third reading on 21 April 2023.

  • Review of Retained EU Law the Government plans to amend, repeal and replace around 4,000 pieces of EU law retained after Brexit by 31 December 2023.
    The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and is currently at the report stage with the House of Lords

  • Protection From Redundancy. Under existing law, employees on maternity leave have priority for suitable alternative employment in a redundancy situation. Under the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill, the protected period would be extended to run from when a woman formally notifies her employer of her pregnancy up until 18 months after she commences maternity leave. Those adopting a child or taking shared parental leave will be similarly protected.
    The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and is now at the committee stage in the House of Lords which is scheduled to meet on 17 April 2023.

  • Introduction of Carers Leave. The Government have confirmed they will introduce legislation that will provide a right to up to five working days of unpaid leave for employees with long-term caring responsibilities. This right would be from ‘day one’ of the employment. No timescale for the introduction of carer’s leave was announced.
    The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and is now at the committe stage in the House of Lords. The Committee is scheduled to meet on the 19 April 2023.

  • Introduction of Neonatal Leave. Under the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, parents will each be able to take up to 12 weeks’ paid leave to enable them to spend more time with their baby if it is receiving neonatal care in a hospital or other agreed care setting due to being born early or being sick. The right will apply to parents of babies who are admitted into hospital in the first four weeks of their life, and who have a continuous stay in hospital of seven full days or more. Each parent will be able to take a maximum of 12 weeks’ leave. This right would be permitted for those with 26 weeks’ service who earn above the minimum pay threshold, and they will be entitled to pay during this period of leave at the current statutory rate. This entitlement is in addition to other leave entitlements, such as maternity and paternity leave.
    The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and progressed to the House of Lords where it had its second reading on 24 March 2024. It will now progress to the committee stage.

  • Amend Flexible Working Regulations so they become the default from ‘day one’ of employment and changing the administrative process regarding frequency of requests and time to respond to a request.
    The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and had its first reading in the House of Lords on 27 February 2023, a date for the second reading will be scheduled shortly.

  • Amend Industrial Action Laws to obligate employers and trade unions to take reasonable steps to enter into a ‘minimum services agreement’, which specifies the minimum service levels required to maintain a skeleton service during Industrial Action.
    The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and progressed to the House of Lords. The Committee Stage has now completed and the report stage is scheduled to commence on 26 April 2023.

  • Predictable Terms and Conditions. This new right will provide employees with the right to request a more predictable and stable contractual working pattern after 26 weeks’ continuous service. It is intended to benefit workers who have irregular hours, for example under a zero hours contract, but who would like more certainty on the number of hours they work and/or the days on which they work.
    The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and progressed to the House of Lords where it had its first reading on 27 March 2024. It will now progress to the second reading stage.

  • Pension Scheme Auto Enrolment. The aim of this Bill is lower the auto enrolment age to include employees younger than 22.
    The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and progressed to the House of Lords where it had its first reading on 27 March 2024. It will now progress to the second reading stage.

Reviewing Your HR Documents For Compliance

Reviewing your HR Documents for compliance is essential to reduce your risk of employment tribunal claims. Also, your employees will feel secure, and therefore their loyalty will increase, if they know you are keeping up to date with employment legislation.

You can set about reviewing of your existing HR documents for compliance with current legislation and update them accordingly. But that is a lot of work and it needs a significant investment in terms of your time.

If you don’t have the time to invest in such a time consuming project you could send your documents to me for a review and update.

HR Compliance Package

My HR Compliance Package ensures your Contracts, Handbook and Associated Policies comply with employment legislation and protect your business

My HR Compliance Package ensures your essential employment documents accurately remain up-to-date with new employment legislation and changes to existing legislation so you avoid complicated situations developing.

I will provide a tailored employment contract and employee handbook. As legislation changes, I will update your documents accordingly, so you can relax in the knowledge that your HR documents will remain up-to-date.

How Does The HR Compliance Package Work?

Having legally compliant Contracts of Employment and associated HR Policies is vital to reduce risks in your business. I won’t force a set of pre-written HR Policies and Contracts of Employment on you, what I will do is review, update and maintain your existing employee handbook and ensure your suite of employment contracts protect your business. I will also ensure your policies are integrated, so they compliment and support each other, rather than been stand-alone policies. Finally, I will suggest ways to improve the user friendliness of your documents.

If some or all of your HR Policies are no longer fit for purpose for instance the simple absence policy you implemented when you recruited your first employee may no longer be suitable now you employ 20 people. Also, as your business grows you may have a need to introduce new policies such as energy conservation. I will work with you to introduce policies that suit your requirements.

All documents I prepare on your behalf will be provided electronically using Microsoft Word.

You will also receive Regular Employment Law Updates confirming the impact changes in legislation may have on your business with recommendations for appropriate action.

Check out my HR Advice and Support Services for packages that include unlimited remote advice and on-site support.

How Much Does HR Compliance Package Cost?

Excellent value at only £600 per year, which can be paid annually or by 12 monthly instalments of £50.

Here’s What You Need To Do Right Now

If you would like to join my HR Essentials Service simply add your name and contact details below. As soon as I receive your membership request, I will give you a call …

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Spring Clean Your HR Policies

Kathryn

Kathryn is a highly experienced HR Manager with a wealth of skills and knowledge acquired across a variety of industries including manufacturing, health and social care and financial services. She has worked in small localised business and larger multi sited organisations and is comfortable liaising with senior managers and union officials as well as answering queries from team members. Connect with Kathryn on:

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