It has been very quiet in terms of employment law updates given Covid has overtaken everything in the last 18 months. However, I thought it might be useful to give you a summary of a few things which may happen in the future with the likely introduction of the Employment Bill. These were not mentioned in the Queen’s speech in May 2021 which indicates they aren’t going to happen soon. The Bill will be introduced when the time is right, but still good to know what is on the horizon…….
Extending Redundancy Protection
This will be extended to cover pregnant women and new parents returning from maternity leave, adoption leave and shared parental leave for a period of 6 months after their return. This would expand the entitlement to be offered suitable alternative employment where a vacancy exists to cover pregnancy and returning to work. It currently just covers the period of leave that is being taken rather than before and after.
Introduction of Neonatal Leave and Pay
To give up to 12 weeks’ paid leave for parents of babies requiring neonatal care.
Good Work Plan Proposals
Measures to include the right to give workers reasonable notice of work schedules and shifts and the introduction of a penalty for employers for non-compliance.
Tips and Service Charges
Introduction of a requirement for employers to pass on all tips and service charges to workers without deductions and to distribute tips in a fair and transparent way. There will be a Statutory Code of Practice on Tipping rather than a voluntary code. There will also be a requirement for a written policy on tips and a record of how tips were dealt with.
In September 2021, the Government responded to the consultation on carers leave. There is an intention to introduce up to one week (five working days) of unpaid leave per year for carers. The leave will be a day on right and there will be specific eligibility criteria. Leave will be able to be used for providing care or making arrangements for care to be provided and could be taken in half days or up to a block of one week. Notice will be required twice the length of the leave plus one day and employers will be able to postpone (not deny) the leave if it would cause business disruption.
Creation of a single enforcement body
The body will support employers to comply with the law, provide detailed technical guidance, have non-compliance and enforcement powers. Their remit will cover National Minimum/Living Wage, Employment Agency Regulation, Modern Slavery, Holiday pay for vulnerable workers, Statutory Sick Pay and unpaid Employment Tribunal awards. It would also introduce the introduction of compliance notices, civil penalties and naming businesses that don’t comply with their legal obligations.