Employment law is constantly evolving to reflect government priorities and tribunal activity, causing employers to experience an increasing number of changes and challenges impacting their businesses. Keeping up-to-date on significant issues is crucial for businesses and their teams.
One important issue includes changes to holiday pay calculations for workers with irregular working patterns. Harpur Trust v Brazel clarified that employers can no longer use the 12.07% method and must now calculate holiday pay by looking at work undertaken over a 52-week reference period.
Employment status is another fast-moving area with non-statutory guidance available from the government. It advises on employees, limb (b) workers, self-employed individuals, and covers gig economy workers, zero hours workers, freelancers, interns and employee shareholders.
A forthcoming Statutory Code of Practice will aim to tackle the controversial tactic of fire and rehire, and will make tribunals and courts take it into account when considering relevant cases, including those for unfair dismissal. Parents and carers rights are set to improve with the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2022 providing for 12 weeks paid leave, and the Carer’s Leave Bill changing the right to unpaid parental leave for carers.
There have also been recent developments in menopause and employment policy, including the creation of a menopause taskforce, and a binding decision related to menopause discrimination. Businesses can explore easy wins in this area by training managers, making reasonable adjustments to working conditions, and producing a relevant menopause policy for their employees.
Finally, reporting thresholds have doubled the business threshold from 250 employees to 500 employees, with the exception of ethnicity reporting, which is not compulsory. There have also been changes to immigration rules affecting digital ‘right to work’ checks. The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill has passed the Committee stage, which will benefit over two million workers and introduce a statutory Code of Practice on tipping. The long-promised Employment Bill is still a work in progress, and the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill is grappling with the December 31, 2023 deadline to amend, repeal and replace current EU law that is still in force in the UK.