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Employment law changes in 2023 – what you need to know
24 Feb 2023

Employment law changes in 2023 - what you need to know

Below are some of the changes to be aware of:

Fire and rehire statutory code

A draft code on the practice of dismissal and re-engagement was published in January , setting out good practice when an employer wants to change terms and conditions of employment and if the employee does agree, then go through the fire and re-hire process.

The draft says dismissal and re-engagement on new terms – so-called fire and rehire - should be the last option. Once the code is in force, any employer found to have unreasonably failed to comply could find that any compensation awarded could be increased by up to 25 per cent.

Calculation of holiday pay for part-time part-year workers

The Government is seeking to close a loophole which last year saw a big holiday pay windfall for part-time workers who only work for part of the year.

A consultation paper has been issued and responses will be taken until the end of March, with legislation likely to follow.

The move follows a landmark  decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Harper Trust v Brazel. The court decided that, for the calculation of holiday pay for part-time workers who only work part of the year ,  the weeks where no work was done should be ignored. The Government is seeking to amend this loophole by basing the calculation of holiday on a 52-week period, including weeks when no work is done.

Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal composition

The Government is consulting about the prospect of all employment tribunals cases being heard by a judge only, rather than a judge and two lay people in some cases.

It is believed that having non-legal members on the panel can affect the time it takes to hear cases and deliver decisions or judgements, and that hearings take longer because lay members take time to ask questions and contribute to the decision or judgement.  

The lay members currently sit on certain cases, such as discrimination, alongside an employment tribunal judge. The consultation closes on 27 March 2023.  

Minimum wage increase

 The rise in the National Minimum Wage from  1 April 2023 is:

  • age 23 and over – up from £9.50 an hour to £10.42 an hour
  • age 21-22 – up from £9.18 an hour to £10.18 an hour
  • age 18-20 – up from £6.83 an hour to £7.49 an hour
  • age 16-17 – up from £4.81 an hour to £5.28 an hour
  • apprentices - up from £4.81 an hour to £5.28 an hour

Leave entitlements for carers

The Carer’s Leave Bill is currently making its way through Parliament and is likely to become law, possibly later this year. It would allow an employee who acts as a carer to take one week’s unpaid carer’s leave a year. This right would apply from day one and the carer would have protection from a detriment or dismissal as a result of taking carer’s leave.

Pregnancy and maternity protection

A Private Member’s Bill, backed by the Government, is expected to come into force later this year to offer more protection in a redundancy process to female employees during pregnancy, and for six months after the return from maternity leave.

It aims to give pregnant employees priority for a suitable alternative vacancy during a redundancy process. That priority would be available from the point they notify the employer of the pregnancy to up to six months after the return from maternity or adoption leave.

Flexible working requests

A Private Member’s Bill aims to remove the need for employees to have been working for 26 weeks before making a request for flexible working. Under the Bill, employees can apply from day one and make two requests per year, instead of the one request allowed currently. The Bill also requires the employer's decision on flexible working to be given within two months, instead of three .

For more information about the above please contact Partner, Tracy Worthington via email or on 01902 392476.

Meet Tracy Worthington