2022 was a bumper year for HR and employment law headlines. Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to many employers taking on Ukrainian nationals, for example.
P&O Ferries made headlines after dismissing 800 employees in March; Virgin Atlantic dropped gendered uniform requirements and visible tattoos were allowed; companies continued to adapt policies, contracts and handbooks to accommodate hybrid and flexible working.
The UK was (and continues to be) suffering a cost-of-living crisis impacting both businesses and staff; the Commonwealth tragically lost Queen Elizabeth II with an additional bank holiday for the state funeral.
There was also an additional bank holiday for the Platinum Jubilee and there was a World Cup over the Christmas period which would likely have given employers headaches with unauthorised absences.
As many workplaces welcome back employees from the festive break in January 2023, this article looks ahead at what employers can expect in HR and employment law.
If you're a business owner or someone who manages staff and you require support with any topic in this article why not get in touch with Croner's award-winning team of experts? Get immediate advice today on 01455 858 132.
Statutory Pay Increases – SSP, NMW
Every April, SSP rates are reviewed and any changes will come into effect. 2023 is no different, and there will be an increase in;
- Statutory Maternity pay.
- Statutory Paternity pay.
- Statutory adoption pay.
- Shared Parental pay.
- Parental Bereavement pay.
Here’s a breakdown of the new rates:
Statutory Sick Pay
- SSP will increase from £99.35 per week to £109.40
Statutory Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Shared Parental/Parental Bereavement Pay
- These will all increase from £156.66 per week to £172.48 from the 2nd of April.
Lower Earnings Limit
- This will stay the same at £123 per week.
National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage
Although this is one of the measures that had been expected, the national minimum wage rates are increasing based on age group. These updates include:
- 23 + (National Living Wage) has been increased from £9.50 to £10.42 (an increase of 9.7%)
- 21-22 has been increased from £9.18 to £10.18 (an increase of 10.9%)
- 18-20 has been increased from £6.83 to £7.49 (an increase of 9.7%)
- 16-17 has been increased from £4.81 to £5.28 (an increase of 9.7%)
- The apprentice rate has been increased from £4.81 to £5.28 (an increase of 9.7%)
These new statutory rates will come into effect on the 1st of April 2023.
Statutory redundancy pay
As of 6th April, the weekly cap for statutory redundancy pay will go up to £643 and increase from £571.
Statutory guarantee pay
Employees are entitled to guarantee pay during a layoff or if they are short-time working. This has gone up from £31 to £35.
For employees to be eligible for this pay, they need;
- To have been employed continuously for 1 month, this includes part-time workers.
- Reasonably make sure they are available for work.
- To not refuse reasonable alternatives to work.
- Been laid off due to industrial action.
The compensatory award that an employee can be awarded following a successful unfair dismissal claim has gone up from £93,878 to £105,707.
For specific advice on how new rates may impact your workplace, contact one of our experienced employment law experts today on 0800 141 3917.
Gender pay gap reporting
The deadline for reporting your gender pay gap is;
- 30th March for most public authority employers.
- 4th April for private, voluntary and all public authority employers.
You need to base the gender pay gap calculation on your payroll data taken on the below dates.
- 31st March for most public authority employers.
- 5th April for private, voluntary and all other public authority employers.
You must complete your gender pay gap report, every year if you employ 250 or more employees on the date of the snapshot.
Extra Bank Holiday
In 2022, employers had to adapt to two extra bank holidays. In 2023, we’ll have one extra bank holiday for the King’s Coronation.
The date of the bank holiday falls on Monday 8th May 2023. While this bank holiday could be treated differently by others, it is more likely to be treated the same.
This means consulting your contract wording to find out whether you need to provide this day off.
Remember, as an employer, you have the option to include all UK bank holidays as part of your statutory holiday entitlement. But this is not a requirement.
If you do contractually provide all bank holidays as part of entitlement, then you should also allow time off for the King’s Coronation.
In certain sectors, particularly hospitality and leisure, employees rely heavily on tips and gratuities. Due to the cost of living crisis, these payments have become even more necessary in many cases.
In fact, Croner published a recent article looking at the implementation of a tronc scheme to equally distribute tips, gratuities, and/or service charges.
The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill (a private member's bill) is due to have its third reading in the House of Commons. If passed, this bill will provide enhanced protection to staff members, by entitling them to keep 100% of the tips they earn. This bill includes any agency workers that an employer hires.
For employers, this means complying with a new statutory code, it will be unlawful to withhold tips from staff. This includes any service changes added to card payments.
While it won’t come into force in January, it looks promising that the bill will gain Royal Assent and be formally passed in 2023.
If you manage staff or run a business in an industry that deals in tips and gratuities, this is a bill to keep your eye on.
Flexible Working Bill
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill, is currently making its way through Parliament. If it becomes law, it would change the statutory right to request flexible working.
The Employment Relations Flexible Working Bill would mean that employees would no longer need to explain to their employers what impact it would have on business ops and how this could be managed.
It will also allow staff to make two flexible working requests a year and will become a day-one right.
Consultation should take place between the employee and employer to discuss the flexible working requests before a decision is reached.
This allows room for a compromise (e.g. part accept a request) and reduces the deadline for providing a decision on a request.
Meanwhile, the Retained EU Law (revocation and reform) Bill has passed to the committee stage. If passed, the retained EU law bill will repeal any retained EU law on 31st December 2023, unless new legislation is introduced to keep it.
The retained EU law (revocation and reform) bill could impact TUPE, the right to paid annual leave, and working time regulations, and more.
The Carer’s Leave Bill has already been introduced to parliament and is expected to complete all stages in 2023. The bill will make carers leave a day one right and will allow employees to take unpaid time off work to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.
If you are aware of any employees with care responsibilities, it is worth keeping your eye on this bill, as you’ll need to be prepared to accommodate it.
Enhanced Redundancy Protection
The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill may also be coming into force at an unspecified date in 2023. The private member's bills will change the law so that pregnant women and new parents receive greater protection from redundancy. Currently, employers are obliged to offer a suitable alternative vacancy to an employee who is on maternity leave before redundancy can be considered.
If passed, the Bill would extend the level of legislative protection given to new parents and pregnant women against workplace discrimination.
Minimum service levels from Transport Strikes
The Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill aims to ensure a certain level of service even when strikes are occurring, including rail services. The purpose of this is to allow passengers to continue to go to work, attend school, and attend medical appointments.
It means employers must specify the workforce required to provide an adequate level of service during strikes. If their trade unions fail to provide this service level, they will lose legal protections from damages. This will only apply to critical services.
Protection from Harassment
The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill means there is a liability for employers for third-party harassment. The bill was introduced following a report that found alarming levels of violent, aggressive, sexual harassment and unwanted behaviour towards workers in the night-time economy.
The bill may be subject to change as it passes through parliament. However, the recommendations will focus on:
- Closer cooperation with specialist services to reduce workplace harassment.
- Publication of personal safety policies by employers.
- Employers taking further steps to prevent sexual harassment, including third-party harassment.
Get expert advice on HR and Employment Law in 2023 with Croner
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Get in touch with Croner's award-winning team of experts and get immediate advice today on 01455 858 132.
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