The UK’s employment law landscape is constantly evolving, and 2023 so far has been no exception. New laws and regulations regarding employment aiming to protect workers’ rights, promote diversity and offer better working conditions have been passed with some coming into effect in 2023 and others in 2024. So, what are the main changes, and how could they affect you?
Key changes to UK employment laws
Here are five of the notable changes you should be aware of:
- Increased flexibility for employees
The pandemic changed how we work, and the government responded by introducing a framework around remote working and requiring employers to discuss and document remote work policies.
With effect from 1 April 2023, employees now have the right to request flexible working from day one of employment. This removes the existing 26-week qualifying period. Employers will also be required to respond to a flexible working request within 2 months and consult with employees before rejecting it if that’s the decision.
- Enhanced protection for pregnant women and new parents.
The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill 2023 came into force on 24th July 2023, and the regulations needed to bring the proposals into effect are working their way through Parliament.
Whilst we don’t know yet when the government will make the changes they’ve talked about, the Act will enhance redundancy protection for pregnant workers and working parents returning to the workplace after family-related leave. The Bill will include the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy and to be consulted on any redundancy plans.
- New rights for carers.
The Carers’ Leave Act 2024 was passed on 24th May 2023 and gives employees the right to take unpaid time off work to provide or arrange for the care of a dependant with a long-term care need. The Bill introduces a statutory entitlement of five days of unpaid leave per calendar year which will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment. The Act is expected to come into force in 2024 and will be a significant step forward for carers who currently have very few legal rights in the workplace.
- Increased pay for statutory leave.
From 2 April 2023, the statutory rate of pay for maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement leave increased from £156.66 to £172.48 per week. This is a welcome increase for employees taking statutory leave and helps to ensure they’re not financially worse off when on leave.
- Update of statutory redundancy pay calculations.
New limits on employment statutory redundancy pay came into effect on the 6th of April. The result means that employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age.
Informed and in the know
Whilst there are other changes to the UK’s employment laws going through Parliament, these five are important ones to be aware of. It’s in your best interest to know what they mean to make sure you know what you’re entitled to as an employee or what you need to comply with as an employer.
If you’re unsure how the new employment law changes will affect you or your business, or if you’ve any further questions, it’s a good idea to speak to an employment law specialist. And with some of these changes impacting pay and salaries, we can help give you peace of mind when it comes to payroll.