April – The month which has everyone on the edge of their seats. Just joking! But it is this time of year, where if you are an employer or business owner you do need to keep an eye on the latest changes and legal updates.
This April, however, we are not seeing as many employment law changes as we have in previous years. There is the usual uplift in statutory payments and national living/minimum wages:
|Wage Band||Rate from 01/04/23|
|Age 23 or over (National Living Wage)||£10.42|
|Age 21 to 22||£10.18|
|Age 18 to 20||£7.49|
Statutory family friendly payment £172.48 per week from 2nd April 2023
Statutory sick pay £109.40 per week from 6th April 2023.
However, there are many more changes coming in that employers need to be mindful of, although there are no confirmed dates (yet) for these coming in to practice. Now rather than waiting for a confirmed date, it is our advice that employers get a head start and begin to consider what changes they may need to make to their organisation.
Neonatal Leave Bill
The government has agreed to this Bill which enables parents whose babies need hospital neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks paid leave in addition to statutory maternity or paternity leave.
Parents will have this right from day one of employment, and employees will be entitled to Neonatal Leave, for those babies who are admitted to hospital up to the age of 28 days and they need to stay in hospital for 7 days continuously or more.
‘Fire and Re-hire’
This enables an employer to vary the terms and conditions of employment by ‘firing’ the employee and then rehiring them by offering new and revised terms and conditions.
A New Statutory code on ‘Fire and re hire’: otherwise knew as dismissal and re-engagement of employees, is under consultation. The practice of doing this is not new, however there has been some questionable behaviour on how companies carry this out. This has resulted in the need for a Statutory code.
The consultation for the Statutory code is due to end in April 2023, after which we can expect a New Statutory Code to be issued.
Maternity Protection Redundancy Expanded
At present expectant mothers and those on Maternity leave are given first refuses at suitable alternative employment during the redundancy process. In 2019 the government agreed that this protection should be extended to cover when an expectant mothers, employees planning to adopt or to take shared parental leave; when they notify their employer of the pregnancy or match for adoption, or intention to take shared parental leave. This extends for 18 months from the start of the leave.
Flexible Working From Day One
Flexibility is high on the agenda for employees and is becoming more the norm in today’s work environment. Employees will be able to apply for flexible working from day one and they can put in a request twice in a year.
Employers must consider all requests submitted to them regardless of the employee’s length of service and if they fall within the limits of two per year.
There are plans to offer all employees one week unpaid leave a year to care for a dependant with a long-term care need, this is linked to a condition likely to last for 3 months or more, a disability under Equality Act 2012 or connected to old age.
Law For Employer To Prevent Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
The government is in support of this Bill which requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The intention is for a Statutory Code to be produced which will support employers to make sure their workplace is free from Sexual Harassment.
Our recommendation is to keep an eye on the confirmed start and implementation dates of the above, but to also identify how the above may affect your organisation, staff handbooks and company policies. It’s never too early to get organised and if you need any help or advice or would like a review of your current policies then get in touch with one of our wonderful HR representatives: