Employment Law 2023: Are you ready for the challenges and changes ahead?
2022 saw a number of challenges for employers and HR teams – a shift from office-based work to a more flexible hybrid working arrangement, recruitment and retention issues and the cost-of-living crisis. 2023 does not look to be any quieter in terms of employment law changes and challenges.
Some changes to look out for include:
Statutory Code of Practice – “fire and rehire”
A new statutory code is expected to be published on the practice of “fire and rehire”. The Code will look to clamp down on this practice where employers fail to engage in meaningful consultations with employees. For relevant cases, tribunals will be given the power to increase any compensation awarded by up to 25% where employers fail to follow the Code.
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill
This will change the way in which flexible working requests are dealt with. Employees will have the right to make a request from day one of their employment, the number of requests per 12 months will increase from one to two, the decision period will decrease from three to two months and an employee will no longer be required to explain what effect the requested change might have on the employer and how that might be dealt with.
The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill
Current rules provide that before offering redundancy to an employee on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave, employers have to offer a suitable alternative if a vacancy exists. The new law will extend this protection to pregnant women and new parents and it is hoped that the new arrangements will prevent discrimination when new parents return to work.
The Carer’s Leave Bill
This will introduce a new entitlement of one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care. This will be available for employees regardless the length of their service and can be used flexibly to suit the caring responsibilities.
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (or Brexit Freedoms Bill)
This will remove all retained EU laws from the statute books by 31 December 2023 unless they are restated or replaced by UK domestic legislation before then. This presents a significant challenge to the government with some 2,400 pieces of legislation to be reviewed by the end of the year. Given the tight deadline, it is likely that they will invoke the extension power to allow time for the regulations to be debated and an appropriate replacement found. If the extension power is invoked, it is likely to delay decisions beyond the next general election which will introduce further delays and uncertainties. As it stands, the current draft Bill is likely to lead to uncertainty for employees and employers affecting areas such as paid holiday, employee rights on the transfer of a business, equal treatment for part time and fixed term workers and agency workers. Given the timescales, it is likely that any changes will be introduced at short notice and therefore employers should be ready to implement any required changes.
We will keep you updated on any new arrangements as changes are announced this year.
If you need any assistance with your HR arrangements, contracts, policies or procedures for your employees, please contact Jo Cullen, Head of Employment on Josephine.Cullen@edslaw.co.uk or 020 8475 7401.