2022 has been another tricky year for HR issues in small businesses, with the cost-of-living crisis and some remaining issues from the Covid-19 pandemic adding extra pressure to employers, employees, and households across the country.
Here at citrus HR, we work hard to keep our customers updated with the latest advice on employment law and HR changes and challenges so they can be prepared. Our legal team have put together this update on the employment law changes you should be aware of for the coming year – so you can make sure you’re all set to hit the ground running in January.
These neatly fall into two groups—some things we know will change, and another list of changes which we expect will happen next year, but which are not yet certain.
Firstly, here are some Employment Law changes we know will happen in 2023
What changes do I need to know about?
- Increases to National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage Rates and Statutory Rates for Maternity, Family Leave, Sick Pay and Redundancy Pay
When will this happen?
The increase in National Living Wage will come into effect from 1st April 2023.
From 1st April 2023 minimum wage rates will increase as follows:
- Workers aged 23 and over – from £9.50 to £10.42
- Workers aged 21 to 22 – from £9.18 to £10.18
- Workers aged 18 to 20 – from £6.83 to £7.49
- Workers aged 16 to 17 – from £4.81 to £5.28
- Apprentices – from £4.81 to £5.28
- An extra bank holiday on 8th May to mark the King’s Coronation
An additional Bank Holiday has been announced for 2023 to mark the King’s Coronation. The extra Bank Holiday has been formally announced as Monday 8th May 2023.
It’s definitely worth checking your employees’ contracts in regard to bank holidays in advance of the additional bank holiday. Whether your employees are automatically entitled to take that extra day’s holiday will depend on the specific wording about holidays and Bank Holidays in your employment contracts – so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these in advance of any questions or confusion.
You may decide to give your team this additional day’s holiday anyway, or as time off in lieu, but it’s a good idea to decide early what you think is best for your business and make it clear to your employees what you’re going to do.
- The additional bank holiday has been added to the citrus HR software for those of you using our standard England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland bank holiday options.
- We know some businesses want to opt out of this bank holiday so if your organisation did not give an extra day for the Queen’s funeral in 2022, we will automatically set you to not give the extra bank holiday in 2023. You will also be able to remove this bank holiday yourself in our software if you want to.
- Important Changes to the Right to Request Flexible Working laws.
- The Government has confirmed that it will extend the right to request flexible working to all employees as a “day 1” right. Currently this right only applies after employees have completed 26 weeks’ service.
And here are some potential changes that we could see implemented in 2023
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill
- Under current laws, you as an employer have an obligation to offer an employee on maternity leave, adoption leave, or shared parental leave an alternative role (if one is available within that company or a group company) as a priority over anyone else who is provisionally selected for redundancy.
- The Government has confirmed it will extend redundancy protection to cover pregnant employees from when they tell the employer they are pregnant until 18 months after the birth.
- The 18-month window ensures that a mother returning from a year of maternity leave can receive 6 months’ additional redundancy protection. It will also apply to Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave.
Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill
- The Government has confirmed they will introduce a new right for parents to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave, in additional to other leave entitlements, if their baby is in neonatal care.
- This will be a ‘Day 1’ right to take leave but to also receive pay for the leave, an employee must have a minimum of 26 weeks of service with their employer and earn more than the ‘lower earnings limit’ (which is currently at least £123 per week).
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill
- In short, this aims to abolish all EU-derived UK laws by the end of 2023, unless it is specifically retained by the UK Parliament. This is a big deal, with the potential for significant changes to employment rights.
- This will likely be an opportunity for the Government to bring changes to holiday pay, TUPE, the rights of agency workers, part time and fixed term workers and general employment rights under the Working Time Regulations.
Possible changes to existing UK data protection laws
- The Government plans to replace UK GDPR with a British data protection system.
- The new British data protection framework will be introduced by amending the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (DPDI Bill) currently making its way through Parliament. An update is expected in early 2023. We will of course update you when more information is available.
A statutory Code of Practice on “fire and rehire”
- In March 2022, the Government announced that a new Statutory Code of Practice will be published on the use of “fire and rehire” practices to bring about changes to employees’ terms and conditions.
- The Government has recently confirmed it intends to publish the draft Statutory Code of Practice on dismissal and re-engagement in the “near future”.
The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill
- The Bill introduces a positive duty on to ‘take all reasonable steps’ to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
- It would also make employers potentially liable for the harassment of staff by third parties, such as clients or customers, if they have failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent such harassment.
- An employment tribunal would have the power to apply an uplift of up to 25% on tribunal awards where the duty to prevent harassment had not been complied with.
Is there anything else I need to be aware of?
The Carer Leavers Bill and The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill may well become law in 2023 as well if the Government can find Parliamentary time during the year to bring forward the necessary bills.
We will provide further guidance on these changes as and when they are confirmed.
As a small business we understand it can be challenging to get to grips with employment law changes—and as you can see, there is lots more than usual that could change in 2023. We hope this update will give you a checklist of areas to be alert to. At citrus HR, our team will monitor the changes to employment law throughout the year and will provide updates and guidance for you as each item becomes law.
Do check back with our website for further updates—and we will get in touch directly with our customers as each change becomes law.
Meanwhile we wish you a successful 2023!
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