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Emma O'Connor

Employment


As employment law continues to change apace, Emma O’Connor, Legal Director, gives a roundup of the recent top employment changes and what HR should know.

 

Allocation of Tips Act delayed

The enactment of the new Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 has been pushed back to 1st October 2024 from its previous implementation date of 1st July 2024. We have also seen the publication of a new draft Code of Practice which will support the new legislation once passed.

The draft Code of Practice explains, amongst other things, who is a “qualifying worker” and what is a “qualifying tip” for the purposes of the legislation as well as how employers should keep a record of the tips they receive. It also explains what happens where the employer uses a Tronc system. For help and support please reach out.

 

Fit notes – call to evidence

The government has launched a call to evidence on the future of fit note reform. The purpose? According to government figures, long term sickness is now the main cause of economic inactivity within the working age population in the UK and broken down, across England around 10 million fit notes are issued as ‘not fit for work’ each year. The proposal is to seek views as to how the current fit note system is working for employers, employees and other stakeholders, whether it helps those who are unwell and whether there are any changes which can be made to the current system “that would better support people to start, stay, and succeed in work.” The call for evidence will close on 8th July 2024.

To hear more about this call for evidence and how to manage sickness absence, please listen to our most recent Employment Law Pod.

 

Changes to NDAs proposed

The government has announced plans to introduce legislation which would prevent NDAs from being legally enforced if they prevent the person signing, from reporting of a crime or accessing support or advice. The legislation, which would only be introduced “if parliamentary time allows”, would mean criminal activity could be discussed or reported to the police (or other such agencies), qualified lawyers or other “confidential support services such as counsellors or medical professionals” without action being taken against the individual. However, the legal effect of other parts of NDAs would not be affected by any legislative intervention.

 

Audit holidays and holiday pay for irregular and part-year workers

If your holiday year starts on after 1st April 2024, then you are able to take advantage of new changes to the way holiday for irregular and part year workers is both calculated and also paid. For those of you who do not, you will have to wait. Employers can take advantage of new holiday accrual rates which means such workers will receive a proportion of holiday (and holiday pay) that is equivalent to 5.6 weeks (calculated at the rate of 12.07%) as well as rolling up holiday pay and calculating this at the rate of 12.07% of normal remuneration, again for the pay period and for all holiday (basic plus additional statutory holiday). If rolling up holiday pay it is important to set this out clearly in any pay slip and also check holiday rules and contracts as these may need changing. Such workers are also entitled to new carry over provisions (as regular workers are entitled to) in cases of sickness, family leave and other prescribed situations. 

 

New rates of statutory pay and compensation

The following rates and figures have been increased:

  • SSP - £116.75 per week
  • SMP etc - £184.03 per week 
  • Week’s pay - £700
  • Maximum compensation award for unfair dismissal £115,115 (or a years’ pay whichever is the lower)

Make sure that policies as well as payroll are updated accordingly. 

 

Check your policies

Have you checked and updated your policies?

  • Statutory Carer’s Leave has now been introduced as a day one right (up to 5 days’ unpaid leave per year for employees, pro-rated for part time employees).
  • Flexible working can now be requested as a day one right, as well as other changes to the statutory process which need to be taken into account in your internal policies. Managers and HR need to be trained as to the changes.
  • Paternity leave can now be taken more flexibly as either non-consecutive 1-week blocks or as a 2-week block within the first 12 months or birth or adoption, including new notification provisions

 

Considering redundancies?

If employers are considering making redundancies, they need to be aware of the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, which gives greater protections for employees during pregnancy, and those returning to work after certain family-related leave.

To find out more about these April changes and how they will impact upon your business, please watch our April webinar.

 

For help and support

There is certainly much to do for HR, so let us help. For help with amending, updating and drafting contracts and policies, for manager and HR training, including sessions on the Flexible Working Revolution – get in touch with our employment and business immigration lawyers on [email protected].


Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

Get in touch

If you have any questions relating to this article or have any legal disputes you would like to discuss, please contact the Employment law and Immigration team on

[email protected]
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