Significant progress has been made regarding new legislation that will provide employees with greater rights. These Bills include:
- the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023,
- the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023,
- the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, and
- the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023.
All four of these Bills have received Royal Assent, meaning that they are now an Act of Parliament. In the cases of these Bills however, the legislation will come into effect on certain dates rather than immediately.
Below, we briefly summarise the Bills, their importance and when they will be coming into effect.
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023
This Act will allow for the extension of existing redundancy protections while on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave to also cover pregnancy and a period of time after a new parent has returned to work.
The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 will come into force at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which the Act was passed. The Act was passed on the 24 May 2023.
Currently, it is predicted that 54,000 mothers a year have a negative or possibly discriminatory experience during pregnancy or maternity leave, or when returning to work from maternity leave. It is hoped that the introduction of this Act will dramatically reduce the number of parents that may feel discriminated against.
Neonatal care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023
Parents with new born babies requiring neonatal care will be eligible for a maximum of 12 weeks paid leave under the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023. This is in addition to the existing entitlements of maternity and paternity leave and pay.
The duration of leave and the amount of statutory neonatal pay will depend on the duration of the baby’s neonatal care. This provision will be applicable if the baby receives continuous neonatal care for more than seven days before turning 28 days old.
This reform is aimed at alleviating concerns about returning to work or taking unpaid leave, enabling parents to prioritise essential care for their baby and once in law, neonatal care leave will be available to employees from their first day in a new job.
The new neonatal leave and pay entitlements are expected to be delivered in April 2025.
Carer’s Leave Act 2023
According to the Carers UK charity, it is estimated that approximately two million employees in the UK are currently managing the dual responsibilities of paid work and unpaid caring responsibilities.
More than 1 in 7 people in any workplace are have caring responsibilities, and in light of this the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 will ensure that all employees who are responsible for caring for a relative or friend will receive an extra 5 days unpaid leave per year in addition to their regular paid annual leave allowance.
Employers that have already implemented this policy are seeing higher staff retention rates and improved overall employee wellbeing.
The policy will be available to staff with caring responsibilities from the first day of employment. A date for implementation is yet to be announced but it is unlikely to be before April 2024. .
Employment (Allocation of Tips) 2023
Under this law, more than 2 million workers will have their tips protected as withholding them is to become unlawful. It is estimated that £200 million a year will go back into the pockets of workers as a result of this bill.
The purpose of tips is to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts and excellent service provided by staff. It is crucial to ensure that tips are distributed equitably and openly.
A significant number of workers in the hospitality industry depend on tips as a supplement to their income, and they often find themselves in a vulnerable position when their employers fail to distribute service charges from customers to themselves.
This proposed legislation prohibits businesses from withholding service charges from their staff, guaranteeing that employees receive the tips they have rightfully earned. These measures are anticipated to be implemented in 2024 after a consultation process and the enactment of additional laws.
Next steps and how we can support you with these changes…
At this time we are awaiting secondary legislation, giving the flesh on the bones and the commencement dates for each Act. Once we have more information we will provide the specific details.
Once the detail is known, we will be able to assist employers with putting together appropriate policies and procedures and advising as to whether any changes to employment contracts are required.
We always recommend that you seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before taking any action. The information in this article only serves as a guide and no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.
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