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    Key dates for Employment law



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    Amendments to Equality Act come into force.

    The amendments to the Equality Act 2010 to retain various key rights and principles after EU law ceases to have effect on 31 December 2023 come into force. These include new provisions which reflect EU case law on direct discrimination related to pregnancy, maternity and breastfeeding, indirect associative discrimination, discriminatory statements about recruitment, a single source test in equal pay claims and an amended definition of disability.

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    Amendments to Working Time Regulations and TUPE.

    The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023 come into force making amendments to the Working Time Regulations including holiday pay and to TUPE outlined in the response to consultations on 8 November. The holiday pay changes include carry over of annual leave in case of sickness or family-related statutory leave and codifying “normal remuneration” for holiday pay effective from 1 January 2024 and for holiday years starting on or after 1 April 2024 changes to allow rolled up holiday pay and annual leave accrual rate of 12.07% of hours worked for part-year and irregular hours workers.

    The Department for Business and Trade has published Guidance on calculating holiday entitlement and holiday pay. The guidance has a particular focus on the rights of part-year workers and those working irregular hours.

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    Acas consultation on new statutory Code of Practice on handling requests for a predictable working pattern closes.

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    Code of Practice on preventing illegal working: Right to Work Scheme for Employers.

    This Code of Practice will apply to all right to work checks.  It sets out how employers can establish a statutory excuse for right to work checks and how civil penalties will be administered and calculated. The starting point for a civil penalty will be £45,000 per worker and £60,000 per worker for repeated breaches.


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    Increases to illegal working (civil) penalties:

    The Home Office has announced significant increases to illegal working penalties. The civil penalty for employers who employ an individual without appropriate immigration permission will be £45,000 (maximum) per illegal worker for a first breach and £60,000 (maximum) for repeat breaches.


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    Changes to Paternity Leave

    The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 come into force which make changes to the way in which statutory entitlement to paternity leave is exercised and will apply to babies whose EWC is after 6 April 2024 or whose expected date of placement for adoption is on or after 6 April 2024.

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    Consultation on re-Introduction of fees ends:

    The Ministry of Justice consultation on the re-introduction of fees for employment tribunals and appeals to the EAT which runs from 29 January 2024 for eight weeks ends. The proposal is for a flat fee of £55 for claims and appeals with a remission scheme for those who meet certain financial criteria. The consultation envisages fees being implemented in November 2024.


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    Holiday entitlement and pay reforms:

    Some changes come into effect for holiday years beginning on or after 1 April 2024 including the accrual of statutory holiday entitlement for irregular and part-year workers at a rate of 12.07% of actual hours worked in a pay period and rolled up holiday pay.  The Department for Business and Trade has published Guidance.

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    Rates of National Minimum Wage increase.

    The increases to NMW will be National Living Wage (21 and over) £11.44; 18 – 20 year old rate £8.60; 16 – 17 year old £6.40 and apprentice rate £6.40.

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    Rates of SMP, SSP and Maternity Allowance increases.

    SMP and other statutory family leave payments increase from £172.48 to £184.03 per week.  

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    Gender pay gap report

    The deadline for submitting Gender Pay Gap Report for private and voluntary employers with 250 or more employees on the snapshot date for reporting year 2023 – 2024 is 4 April 2024.

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    Vento bands

    Annual update to tribunal awards for injury to feelings and psychiatric injury in respect of claims presented on or after 6 April 2024 will be as follows:

    • A lower band of £1,200 to £11,700 (less serious cases) 
    • A middle band of £11,700 to £35,200 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band)
    • An upper band of £35,200 to £58,700 (the most serious cases) with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £58,700.
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    SSP increases from £109.40 to £116.75 per week.

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    Carer’s Leave set to be introduced.

    Regulations have been laid before Parliament setting out the statutory right to unpaid carer’s leave. It will be a day one employment right and entitle those who qualify to up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave in any 12 month period.

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    Protection from redundancy, pregnancy and family leave.

    • The period of special protection from redundancy for employees who are on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave(SPL) will be extended from April 2024. Currently, those on maternity leave, adoption leave, or SPL should be offered first refusal of any suitable alternative employment in a redundancy situation. This will be extended for those on maternity leave to pregnancy, alongside 18 months from the EWC; for adoption the period will cover 18 months from placement for adoption and for SPL, the protection will cover 18 months from birth (provided at least 6 consecutive weeks of SPL is taken) but will not apply if maternity/adoption protection applies.
    • The extension to cover pregnancy protection applies where the pregnancy is notified on or after 6 April. The extension of the protected period will apply to any maternity and adoption leave ending on or after 6 April and any SPL starting on or after 6 April.
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    Flexible working

    The changes to the right to request flexible working will come into force. This will become a day one right for all requests made on or after this date. Employees may make two requests in any 12 month period, an employer will not be able to refuse a request without consulting with the employee and the time for making a decision will be reduced from three to two months.

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    Paternity Leave

    The changes to paternity leave apply to all babies whose EWC is after 6 April 2024 or expected date of placement for adoption occurs on or after 6 April 2024. The changes include allowing fathers and partners to take their leave in two one-week, non-consecutive blocks; allowing leave to be taken at any point in the first year after birth or adoption, shortening the notice period required for each period of leave and enabling dates to be varied on 28 days’ notice of the variation.

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    A week’s pay limit increases from £643 to £700 and the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £105,707 to £115,115.


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    TUPE consultation changes

    Direct consultation with workers will be permitted where no existing employee representatives are in place for transfers on or after 1 July 2024 involving small businesses (fewer than 50 workers) and small transfers (involving fewer than 10 workers) of any size of business.


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    Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 to come into effect

    The Act will give workers and agency workers the right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work. It will apply to workers whose existing work patterns lack certainty in terms of hours or times they work and to those on a fixed-term contract of 12 months or less. It will also apply to agency workers.  Employers must deal with a request in a reasonable manner and notify the worker of their decision within one month. A maximum of two applications will be permitted during any 12-month period and requests may be refused on specified grounds. Acas has consulted on a new Statutory Code of Practice.


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    The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 is expected to come into force

    This Act imposes new obligations on employers to ensure that 100% of tips are paid to workers in full without deductions and that allocation is what the legislation describes as “fair”. The government has published an Updated draft: Code of Practice on Fair and Transparent Distribution of Tips. The Code will be supported by non-statutory guidance that has not been published yet. For more information Government publishes Tipping Code of Practice ahead of incoming Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023.

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    Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 comes into force.

    This introduces a new duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees and gives tribunals the power to uplift sexual harassment compensation by 25% where the employer is found to have breached the new duty.



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    New legislation for neonatal leave and pay.

    Legislation is now in place to enable regulations to come into force introducing neonatal leave and pay for employees whose babies spend an extended period of time in neonatal care. It is not anticipated that the provisions will take effect before summer 2025.

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