Key Employment Law Updates

There have been a number of important legislative changes that will positively affect employees. The changes will come into force in the coming years, so employers must be aware of how the new laws will affect HR decisions and internal policies and processes. Here is a breakdown of the updates:

Annual Carer Leave Entitlement

The government has found that there are too many informal and unpaid carers trying to balance their caring responsibilities alongside their day job. As a result, people with caring duties outside of work are having to use either annual leave or flexible working patterns to juggle the two. There is no specific statutory leave entitlement dedicated to people who have unpaid carer commitments. 

As such, as of around April 2024 or after, the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 will be introduced to allow employees to take up to one week of unpaid leave per year to care for someone with a long-term need for care such as a spouse, child or parent. The leave can be taken all together or as individual days or half days. 

Separate Neonatal Leave

Due to come into effect around April 2025, the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 will enable parents who need to spend time with their baby in cases of premature birth or sickness to take entitled leave without having to use maternity or paternity leave. 

Parents will be entitled to neonatal leave when their baby receives medical or palliative care for at least 7 days within their first 28 days of life. The entitlement will be dependent on how long the baby needs to stay in the hospital, but parents will be given a minimum of 1 week and up to 12 weeks of neonatal leave. This will give them some kind of peace of mind especially at a time that can be traumatic for newborn parents.

Extra Redundancy Protection 

Pregnant employees and people returning from adoption or parental leave will be entitled to redeployment opportunities in cases of redundancy. Employers will have to offer a suitable alternative position to these individuals over other redundant staff. This will provide extra protection against discrimination. 

Those covered under the new Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 include pregnant employees, those suffering from a miscarriage, and people returning from maternity, adoption or shared parental leave (up until around 6 months after coming back to work). 

Employee Tipping

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 is expected to come into force in 2024 to ensure that employees receive all the tips, gratuities and service charges that they are entitled to. In addition, employers will need to create an internal policy document that outlines exactly how tips are allocated to employees. Records must be kept to keep track of tip allocation and must be disclosed to workers on request. Employees will have the right to make a claim to the employment tribunal if they believe that their employer is not distributing tips fairly. 

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