UK Employment Law Timetable

An overview of the legal changes that are expected to take effect during 2024

All changes to UK employment law were introduced in either April or October. However, the Cameron-Clegg Coalition Government (2010-2015) abolished this set timetable and since then changes to employment law take place throughout the year. 2024 is set to see significant changes in the world of Employment Law. Much of the legislative change is being driven by post-Brexit reforms which are only now starting to come into effect.

National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) Rates
April 2024 The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage Rates are set by the Government each year and are applicable from April to March. Read More …
Employment Tribunal Award Limits
April 2024 The Government update the compensation limits to be imposed by employment tribunals every year in April. The rates applicable from April 2024 have yet to be announced. Read More …
Statutory Payments
April 2024 The Government sets the statutory payment rates for maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay, parental bereavement pay and sick pay each year and the rate are applicable from April to March.

Please refer to ‘Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay’ for more detailed information about this relatively new right.

Read More …

What’s New For 2024

Illegal Working
13 February 2024

Fines payable by employers who employ illegal workers will increase. The fine for a first breach will increase from £15,000 to £45,000 per illegal worker. For repeated breaches, the fine will increase from £20,000 up to £60,000.

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Read More …
Holiday Entitlement
1 April 2024

The government have introduced a number of reforms in this area, which will apply to holiday leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024.

The Government launched a consultation on holiday entitlement for part-year and irregular hours workers. This followed the Supreme Court’s decision in Harpur Trust v Brazel, which provided that holiday entitlement for permanent part-year workers should not be capped at 12.07% of their annualised hours or pro-rated so that it is proportionate to that of a full-time worker – even though this would entitle part-year workers to a higher holiday entitlement in comparison to part-time workers who work the same total number of hours across the year.

Rate of Accrual: Holiday entitlement for irregular hours / part-year workers can be calculated at the rate of 12.07% of hours worked in the relevant pay period. This will be a very significant change for those of you who engage workers of this nature.

Rolled Up Holiday Pay: will be permissible for part year and irregular hours workers only i.e. paid on top of a worker’s normal hourly rate at the time they perform the work rather than when they are on holiday.

Carry Over: legislation will mirror current EU case law which allows workers to carry forward their entitlement to four weeks’ leave to the next holiday year where they have been prevented from using it due to sick leave (to be used within 18 months of the end of the holiday year in which the entitlement accrued). In addition, if a worker cannot take their holiday entitlement due to family leave, they will be entitled to carry forward their whole 5.6 weeks’ entitlement to the next holiday year.

Covid Carry Over: emergency legislation permitting workers to carry forward leave for up to two holiday years, where they were unable to take this leave because of Covid, ended on 1 January 2024. However, staff will have until 31 March 2024 to use any leave they have carried over under these rules.

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Working Time
1 April 2024

Recording Requirements: legislation clarifies that employers will not be required to keep records of each employee’s daily working hours in order to comply with the record keeping requirements of the Working Time Regulations.

Status
Carers Leave
6 April 2024

The Government consulted on potential Carer’s Leave in 2020 and published their response to that consultation in September 2021. The response confirmed that the Government 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.

Eligibility will depend on the employee’s relationship with the person for whom they provide care. The leave will be a “day one” right, meaning there is no minimum service requirement to take advantage of it. Carer’s leave can be taken flexibly either as full days or half days, up to a block of one week per year. The employee must give notice that is twice the length of the time being requested as leave, plus one day.

Status
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 24 May 2023. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).
Read More …
Paternity Leave
6 April 2024 The Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 make significant changes to paternity leave.

The aim is to increase the uptake of fathers taking paternity leave, by taking forward the following measures:

  • fathers or partners may split their leave into two blocks of one week. Currently, only one block of one or two weeks’ leave can be taken.
  • fathers or partners may take their leave and pay at any point during the first year following the birth or adoption of their child, instead of only within the first eight weeks.

The new measures will require an employee to give notice that they intend to take leave 15 weeks prior to the expected week of childbirth or placement for adoption, and then four weeks’ notice of dates prior to each period of leave.

Status
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 24 May 2023. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).
Protection From Redundancy
6 April 2024

Under existing law, employees on maternity leave have priority for suitable alternative employment in a redundancy situation. As it stands, it is only during maternity leave that women are prioritised in this way. 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.

This is a long-anticipated reform, which was mentioned in the 2019 Queen’s Speech. More radical proposals (prohibiting dismissal during pregnancy and maternity leave as seen in some European countries) were set out in a different Private Members’ Bill but failed due to lack of government support. This latest Bill, however, looks likely to make the cut.

The protected period will be significantly extended with pregnant employees in a priority position for around two years.

Status
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 24 May 2023. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).
Flexible Working
6 April 2024

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 has completed its passage through Parliament and now awaits Royal Assent. There are several things it changes about the current flexible working regime and several (possible more notable) things that it does not. In terms of what it does change:

  • Employees will be able to make two flexible working requests in any 12 month period.
  • Requests have to be dealt-with by employers within 2 months of receipt of a request if no extension is agreed.
  • Employers are not able to refuse a request until they have ‘consulted’ with the employee (although there is no legislative de minimis requirement of what that ‘consultation’ needs to include).
  • Employees will no longer, in their application, have to explain what effect the employee thinks agreeing to the request would have and how any such effect might be dealt with.

The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 remove the requirement that an employee must have 26 weeks’ service in order to be able to make a request for flexible working. The change makes the right to request flexible working a Day One right. This new right will come into effect for flexible working requests made on or after 6 April 2024.

Status
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 20 July. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).
Read More …
Tips, Gratuities and Service Charges
May 2024

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.

A new statutory code of practice will also be developed, to replace the existing voluntary code, to provide advice on how tips should be distributed.

Status
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 2 May. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).
Read More …
TUPE
1 July 2024

The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023 bring in new rules permitting employers to consult directly with staff affected by TUPE, rather than electing representatives. The new rules will apply to:

  • Businesses with fewer than 50 employees; or
  • Transfers affecting fewer than 10 employees (regardless of the size of the employer).

This new measure will allow businesses which satisfy these criteria to consult directly with affected employees and reduce the complexities surrounding the election of representatives. At present, only micro-employers with fewer than 10 employees can inform and consult affected employees directly in respect of a transfer of a business or service provision change.

Status
The consultation closed on 7 July 2023.
The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill
September 2024 (expected)

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 and secondary regulations are expected to come into force approximately one year after Royal Assent, which was given on 8 September 2023. The Act will provide employees the right to request 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.

Status
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 18 September 2023. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).
Read More …
Sexual Harassment
October 2024 (expected)

The current position is that sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful, and employers and individuals can be found liable in claims brought in the employment tribunal. However, employers can avoid being found vicariously liable for harassment committed by their workers if they can show that they have taken “all reasonable steps” to prevent such harassment from occurring. The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act introduces a new legal obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees.

Tribunals will also have the power to uplift sexual harassment compensation by up to 25% where an employer is found to have breached this new duty.

Status
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 18 September 2023. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).
Industrial Action
TBC

First outlined in October 2022, the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill seeks to obligate employers and trade unions to maintain minimum service levels in connection with the taking by trade unions of strike action relating to certain services.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023, enabling the implementation of minimum service levels (MSLs) for some public services strikes.
Further regulations, and a consultation on a statutory Code of Practice, will follow, meaning that implementation is not immediate. Once implemented, employers providing passenger rail, ambulance, fire and rescue services will need to decide, as a minimum, whether to issue work notices to apply statutory MSLs during a strike. Other public service employers identified across six categories, below, may wish to seek to agree voluntary MSL arrangements (where they do not already exist).

The Labour Party has stated that it would repeal the legislation, if it wins the next General Election. The trade unions have stated their intention to challenge the changes in the courts.

Status
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 20 July. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).
Read More …
Neonatal Leave
TBC

Under the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, each parent 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.

Status
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 24 May 2023. The bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).
Read More …
Non-compete Restrictions
TBC New legislation is intended to curb the use of non-compete restrictive covenants while enabling businesses to compete and innovate.

The UK Government consulted on reform to post-termination non-compete clauses in contracts of employment between December 2020 and February 2021. No formal response to the consultation has been published but a policy paper was published in May 2023 announcing the UK Government’s intention to legislate to limit the length of non-compete clauses to three months. It is anticipated that this will affect 5 million UK workers. A non-compete clause prevents an employee from engaging, for a period of time, in any business that competes with the ex-employer’s business.

The policy paper explains that this limitation applies only to post-termination non-compete clauses. It will not interfere with an employer’s ability to use (paid) notice periods or gardening leave, nor will it impact on confidentiality clauses. Non-solicitation clauses that restrict employees from approaching their former employer’s customers, clients or suppliers will also be unaffected. The policy paper does not specifically address non-dealing clauses – these differ from non-solicitation clauses in as much as they restrict the employee from carrying on business with their former employer’s customers, clients or suppliers irrespective of who contacted whom – but it is thought that these will also be unaffected. Restrictions under the public sector Business Appointment Rules (that exist to prevent former civil servants and ministers from profiting from their knowledge of and contracts within Whitehall) will also be unaffected.

Status
In terms of implementation, this legislation is to be introduced in the UK Governments favourite timescale – ” when Parliamentary time allows”. So, when (or potentially if) this legislation will take effect is an unknown.

What’s In The Pipeline?

Continuous Employment
TBC

New legislation to increase the break needed to end continuous employment from one week to four weeks to be introduced.

Status
Data Protection and Digital Information
TBC A Bill to make provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to identified or identifiable living individuals; to make provision about services consisting of the use of information to ascertain and verify facts about individuals; to make provision about access to customer data and business data; to make provision about privacy and electronic communications; to make provision about services for the provision of electronic signatures, electronic seals and other trust services; to make provision about the disclosure of information to improve public service delivery; to make provision for the implementation of agreements on sharing information for law enforcement purposes; to make provision about the keeping and maintenance of registers of births and deaths; to make provision about information standards for health and social care; to establish the Information Commission; to make provision about oversight of biometric data; and for connected purposes. Status
The Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 8 March 2023. The committee stage has now completed and has returned the Bill with amendments to the House. The next stage is the report stage, when further amendments can be made, a date has yet to be announced for the Report Stage.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Bereavement)
TBC A private member’s bill has been introduced by MP Darren Henry to make provision about shared parental leave and pay in certain cases where one or both of a child’s parents has died; and for connected purposes. Status
The Bill is listed for a second reading on 24 November 2023
Time off for Fertility Treatment
TBC A private member’s bill has been introduced by MP Nickie Aiken and would seek to allow women to take time off work for fertility treatment whilst also protect women who seek fertility treatment from any discrimination they may face in the workplace when pursuing fertility treatments such as IVF. Status
The Bill is listed for a second reading on 24 November 2023
Read More …
Bullying and Respect at Work Bill
TBC A Bill to provide for a statutory definition of bullying at work; to make provision relating to bullying at work, including to enable claims relating to workplace bullying to be considered by an employment tribunal; to provide for a Respect at Work Code to set minimum standards for positive and respectful work environments; to give powers to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to investigate workplaces and organisations where there is evidence of a culture of, or multiple incidents of, bullying and to take enforcement action; and for connected purposes. Status
The second reading, is scheduled to take place on Friday 24 November 2023..
Protection for Whistleblowing Bill
TBC This is a Private Members’ Bill that originated in the House of Lords during the Session 2022-23.

This aim of the Bill is to establish an Office of the Whistleblower to protect whistleblowers and whistleblowing and to uphold the public interest in relation to whistleblowing; to create offences relating to the treatment of whistleblowers and the handling of whistleblowing cases; to repeal the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998; and for connected purposes

Status
The First reading in the House of Lords took place on 13 June and the Second reading is scheduled for 2 December.
Working Time Regulations (Amendments) Bill
TBC A private member’s bill has been introduced by MP Peter Dowd to amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 to reduce the maximum working week from 48 hours per week to 32 hours per week and to provide for overtime pay; and for connected purposes. Status
The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 18 October 2022. The next stage for this Bill, Second reading, is scheduled to take place on Friday 20 October 2023.

Pension Automatic Enrolment
TBC 2023

The Bill aims to extend the automatic enrolment in to a pension scheme to jobholders under the age of 22.

Status
The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and is now at the second reading stage in the House of Lords (a date has yet to be scheduled).
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