In this article we provide an employment law timeline, and include details of proposed developments that businesses need to be aware of in the months ahead.
Confirmed New Employment Legislation – in order of commencement date
Expected late 2023 – The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023
The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 was given Royal Assent back in July and when in force, it will enable minimum service levels to be implemented in certain sectors; health services, fire and rescue services, education services, transport services, border security and the decommissioning of nuclear installations and management of radioactive waste and spent fuel. Now that a draft Code of Practice has been consulted on and the Government has responded to, we expect this legislation to be in force imminently.
Expected Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023
This new legislation is expected to come into force late 2023. When it does, it will apply to businesses that employ more than 250 employees and have more than £36 million turnover and more than £18 million in total assets. The purpose of the Act is to further tackle fraud and false accounting and will require employers to demonstrate that it has put in place reasonable measures to deter this type of crime.
11 December 2023 – The Apprenticeships (Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales) (Modification) Order 2023
This order will modify the standards in place for apprenticeships in Wales, by ensuring that it includes ensuring accessibility for those with learning difficulties or a disability. Updated guidance will be available in due course, along with an updated version of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales.
By 31 December 2023 – Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023
This legislation repeals the European Communities Act 1972, which allowed EU law to continue to operate in the UK. It now ends the authority of EU law in the UK and gives UK Parliament the power to amend, repeal or revoke EU laws (including European case law).
There is a list of retained EU laws that the Government intends to revoke contained within it so that on 31 December 2023, those EU laws not listed would be considered as being retained.
1 January 2024 – The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023
These regulations will amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 and the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 and will revoke the European Cooperative Society (Involvement of Employees) Regulations 2006. Full details of how these pieces of legislation will be reformed can be found in this month’s ‘Recent and Future Changes’ newsletter. In summary, it will make changes to obligations in regard to record keeping of working hours, holiday entitlement and pay, and how to consult where there are small TUPE transfers or SMEs are managing a TUPE transfer.
22 January 2024 (or 21 days from the Order being made, if later) – The Immigration (Employment of Adults subject to Immigration Control (Maximum Penalty) (Amendment) Order 2023
This Order will be amended to increase the maximum civil penalty for the illegal employment of adults, subject to immigration control. It will increase from £20,000 to £60,000.
1 April 2024 – The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023
National Minimum Wage (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2023 will remove the exemption for live-in domestic workers from the national minimum wage. This follows the EAT case of Thakali v Puthenveettil  which deemed the exemption unlawful.
9 May 2024 – The Trade Union (Deduction of Union Subscriptions from Wages in the Public Sector) Regulations 2023
This will specify who is a relevant public sector employer for the purpose of making deductions from its workers’ wages in respect of trade union subscriptions. Also of the same day, the Trade Union Act 2016 (Commencement No. 6) Regulations 2023 come into force that enables a public sector employer to make deductions from employees wages in regards to trade union subscriptions.
26 October 2024 – Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023
The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 comes into effect on 26 October 2024. The implication of this new Act is that it will place an increased responsibility on employers to prevent harassment of a sexual nature in the workplace.
1 July 2026 – The Drivers’ Hours, Tachographs, International Road Haulage and Licensing of Operators (Amendment) Regulations 2022
This legislation will amend existing legislation to bring EU drivers’ hours, including in relation to weekly rest requirements and bringing smaller vehicles into the scope of drivers’ hours rules.
2028– Pension age increase
The new normal minimum pension age will become 57 years from 2028, following the amendment to Part 4 of the Finance Act 2004 (pension schemes etc).
Legislation – commencement date to be announced (expected in 2024)
The Carer’s Leave Act 2023.
This legislation will give employees the statutory right to take one week of unpaid leave in any 12-month period to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need, and not to be dismissed or victimised for doing so. Read our Knowledge Base article for further information on this new statutory entitlement.
Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023
This legislation is aimed at enabling workers to receive tips, gratuities and service charges paid by customers that are earned in full, meaning that an employer will be required to pass on all tips without deduction.
As part of the legislation, it requires an employer to have a written policy where tips are awarded on more than an occasional and exceptional basis. A Code of Practice will be published in due course after which, the legislation will come into force.
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 (possibly July or August 2024)
This new legislation will make amendments to existing flexible working laws. You can read more about the forthcoming reforms in our Knowledge Base article.
Protection from redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023
This legislation will provide protection from redundancy, to those who are pregnant, on maternity/adoption/shared parental leave and until the child is 18 months.
It will mean that where an employee is made redundant during these periods, they are entitled, as a matter of right, to be offered, before the end of their employment under their existing contract, any suitable alternative employment in preference to and priority over other employees. The extra protection from redundancy begins when an employee notifies their employer of their pregnancy, and continues throughout maternity/adoption leave until the child is 18 months.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2023
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2023 will enable questions to be asked about spent cautions and convictions where it is necessary to assess a person’s suitability to engage in work by chartered management accountants, fire and rescue authority employees, justice system intermediaries and notaries public of England and Wales.
The Seafarers’ Wages Act 2023 part 1 draft regulations and guidance
The Seafarer’s Wages Act 2023 is to protect those who work on ships that operate a regular international service to/from the UK from being paid less that the national minimum/living wage.
Expected from 2025 onwards:
Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023
We also have new legislation entitling employees to take a period of leave of absence when their baby requires neonatal care. Neonatal care is care that is medical or palliative and would apply to someone with parental or other personal relationships with a child who is to receive or has received neonatal care. Read our Knowledge Base article for further information on this new statutory entitlement.
Pensions (Extension of automatic enrolment) Act 2023
This new legislation removes the current age requirements for eligible workers to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension. The current minimum age is 22 years, but this will be reduced to 18 years.
Employment Bills (A-Z)
Artificial Intelligence (Regulations and Workers Rights) Bill
The Artificial Intelligence (Regulation and Workers’ Rights) Bill if passed, would regulate the use of artificial intelligence technologies in the workplace and to make provision for workers’ and trade union rights in relation to the use of artificial intelligence technologies. The Bill has been scheduled for its second reading in the House of Commons on 24 November 2023.
Asylum Seekers (Permission to Work) Bill
This Bill, if passed, would enable asylum seekers who have waited six months for a decision on their asylum application, to be able to take up employment.
Bullying and Respect at Work Bill
A new Bill has been proposed that aims to address workplace bullying and promote a respectful working environment.
Carers and Care Workers Bill
This Bill would require the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to publish and implement a Carer Worker’s Employment Strategy which would be aimed at improving the recruitment and retention of care workers and establish an independent National Care Workers Council that would have responsibility for setting professional standards for care workers. It would also be responsible for establishing a system of professional qualifications and accreditation for care workers.
Data Protection and Digital Information (No.2) Bill
This Bill aims to make changes to the UK General Data Protection Regulations (UK GDPR) and to introduce several significant data protection and ePrivacy reforms. Some of the key proposed changes include:
- removing the traditional role of Data Protection Officer and to replace it with ‘Senior Responsible Individual’ (SRI)
- remove the requirement to complete a data protection impact assessment – although risks must still be identified and managed but on a risk based approach
- require only controllers or processors of data that is likely to result in high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, to keep and maintain records.
- the Regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office, will be replaced by the Information Commission and supported by a statutory Board, with a Chair and Chief Executive.
- remove the requirement for non-UK based controllers and processors to appoint a UK representative.
- remove the current test threshold “manifestly unfounded or excessive” when managing subject data access requests and replace with “vexatious or excessive”. Examples quoted in the Bill include requests that are intended to cause distress, not made in good faith or are an abuse of process.
Devolution (Employment) (Scotland) Bill
This Bill would amend legislation (Scotland Act 1998) that would change the legislative competence on employment matters from the UK Government to the Scottish Parliament.
Employment (Application Requirements) Bill
This Bill is aimed at introducing legislation that would regulate the use of minimum qualification or experience requirements in job applications.
Employee Share Ownership (Reform) Bill
This Bill would introduce a new share ownership scheme which would not require regular monthly contributions and so aimed at lower income and gig economy workers. It would also reduce the share incentive plan holding period from five years to three years and require companies to declare in their annual reports the type of share ownership plans they have in place and level of take up.
Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement)
This Bill if passed, would provide workers greater rights and protection against ‘fire and rehire’, the practice where a dismissal occurs only for the worker to be offered new employment but on lesser terms.
Fertility Treatment Bill
This Bill is about providing employees with the legal entitlement to time out of the workplace in order to attend appointments for fertility treatment.
Health and Safety Bill
This Bill would amend the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 to make provisions about civil liability for breaches of health and safety duties.
Miscarriage leave Bill
This Bill if passed, would provide employees who have experienced a miscarriage with at least three days paid leave.
Non-disclosure agreements Bill
This Bill, if passed would make provisions about the content and use of non-disclosure agreements and for connected purposes.
Paternity (Leave and Pay) Bill
This Bill would extend eligibility for paternity leave and pay, as currently, it is only available based on a person’s employment status, length of continuous service and level of earnings. It would also make provision for flexibility in the timing of, and notice period for taking the leave. It is anticipated that this Bill would be come legislation ready for implementation from 6 April 2024.
Public sector exit payments
This Bill would limit the amount of exit payments made to those working within the public sector.
Sunday trading – Protection for shop workers:
The right of shop workers to opt out of working Sundays on religious or family grounds is to be extended to any ‘additional’ hours above their normal hours which they may normally be obliged to work if requested. The duty of employers to advise workers of these rights is also to be extended.
Whistleblowing – Protection for children’s social care applicants
This protection will be introduced into the Employment Rights Act, section 49C which will prevent employers from discriminating against a job applicant for a children’s social care role because they have made a protected disclosure.
Workers (Rights and Definition) Bill
This is a Bill which would amend the definition of worker.
Working time regulations (amendment) Bill
- This Bill, if introduced, would amend the working time regulations so the maximum working week would become 32 hours per week, rather than the current 48 hours.ourt ruling in the Harpur Trust v Brazel case.
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