What’s in Store For Employers in 2023?

During the last few years, employment law has been moving at a rather sluggish pace, possibly due to the pandemic and economic crisis. However 2023, is likely to be a year where there may be major changes to employment laws which employers will have to familiarise themselves with once implemented. These changes range from a number of private members bills to the reforms required to EU law post Brexit. So what’s in store for employers in 2023?

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022-23

If enacted, this could majorly change the current employment law landscape and could result in rights and protections derived from the EU (such as Working Time regulations, TUPE, Agency Worker Regulation etc), being sunset (automatic revocation on 31 December 2023) unless specific steps are taken to preserve them. At present, the Bill has passed the Committee stage of the House of Commons and the date for the report stage has not been set. Given that there are over 2000 pieces of  EU legislation to wade through and implement, amend or sunset coupled with the fact that there could be a hugely disruptive impact on legal certainty, there are calls for extending the deadline which may be permitted under the Bill for reform to the 23 June 2026 (10 year anniversary of Brexit decision). As and when the changes are implemented it is thought they will not reduce current rights and protections that employees presently benefit from due to the commitments required from the Trade and Co-operation Agreement- namely the imposition of tariffs on the UK from the EU.

The Employment Relations (Flexible working) Bill 2022-23

A Private Members Bill which the government is supporting. This could include making the right to request to work flexibly a Day One Right as opposed to currently, where an employee has to have 26 weeks service. Other changes include reducing the employer’s decision period down to 2 months (currently 3 months) and permitting the employee to make 2 statutory requests per year, as opposed to one. In addition, employees will no longer have to explain what the effect could be on the workplace of the proposed request. Employers will also need to consult with an employee before rejecting the request.

Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill 2022-23

Another Private Members Bill which the government is supporting. It would create employers’ liability for third-party harassment and introduce a duty on employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees. As a result employers would need to ensure that not only have they taken reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace but also any third party they contract with. This is likely to include policies and training as a minimum.

Protection from redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill 2022-23

A Private Members Bill, which would prohibit redundancy during pregnancy and maternity adoption or shared parental leave and for six months after the end of the pregnancy or family-related leave.

Statutory ACAS Code of Practice of fire and rehire

In the wake of mass redundancies by P&O Ferries in March 2022, the government announced that it would issue a Statutory Code of Practice to address “fire and rehire” practices. This was delayed last year and is expected this year. The new code would have to be taken into account by tribunals, when considering the fairness of dismissals and will give the tribunals the power to make a 25% uplift to any compensation if the employer fails to comply.

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill 2022-23

On the back of the Taylor Review and Good Work Plan, the government will introduce statutory 12 weeks neonatal pay and leave for parents whose babies require neonatal care. As this change would involve changes to HMRC systems, require sufficient notice for employers and payroll to update their systems, it is estimated that it will take 18 months from the Royal Assent of the Bill to implement the changes. That said, the government is looking at ways to reduce this timeframe.

Carers Leave Bill 2022-23

In September 2021 the government committed to introducing a right for unpaid carers of up to a week of unpaid leave per year.

Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill 2022-23

Another Private Member Bill with government backing. It will require employers to pass on 100% of tips to staff with no deductions other than those required for tax purposes. This has been talked about since 2016 and the remaining stages of the Bill will be considered on 20 January 2023.

There could be much change on the horizon and with little time for employers to get their heads around them, this could add to current headaches that employers are facing already such as with recruitment and retention. However, it is worth mentioning that some employers in the travel industry are being proactive in terms of their recruitment and retention strategies, and have already implemented carers leave and neonatal leave for example, and continue to improve and focus on the Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.

As ever, once we have further details Travlaw will endeavour to steer the travel industry in the right direction.

For help and advice on employment issues within the travel industry, contact; 
or call;
0113 258 0033

This article was originally published on: 12 January 2023

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