A round-up of changes that are due to come into force in 2023
Annual increases in National Minimum Wage and Statutory Payments
There will be the normal increase in National Minimum Wage rates for the tax year beginning 1 April 2023. The new rates are as follows:
– Workers aged 23 and over: £10.42 an hour (National Living Wage)
– Workers aged 21-22: £10.18 an hour
– Development rate for workers aged 18-20: £7.49 an hour
– Young workers rate for workers aged 16-17: £5.28 an hour
– Apprentice rate: £5.28 an hour.
There will be an increase in statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay from £156.66 to £172.48 a week with effect from 2 April 2023.
Statutory sick pay will also rise from £99.35 to £109.40 per week.
New Legislation in the pipeline
In September 2022, the government published the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, the aim of which is to remove any retained EU law by 31 December 2023 (the “sunset” date, as it has been euphemistically described). Therefore, unless specific legislation is introduced by the UK government to keep the EU derived legislation, the legislation will be removed from the UK statute book. It is therefore going to be a busy year for legislators with over 2,400 of retained EU law to review before the end of next year (although this date can be extended until 2026 so there probably isn’t call for panic – not just yet). Could this spell the end for unpopular legislation such as the Agency Workers Regulations or repeal of some of the Working Time Regulations? Watch this space!
The Care Leavers Bill is progressing through the final stages of Parliament and looks set to be implemented in 2023. The Bill proposes to introduce a right of up to five working days of unpaid leave for employees with long term caring responsibilities for a dependant, for the purposes of providing or arrange care for them. This right will be available as a “day one” right and employees exercising this right will be protected from dismissal or detriment due to take this leave, as per the protection afforded to other statutory rights to paid/unpaid leave.
The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Billis anticipated to become law in Spring 2023 with implementation likely to take place the following year (2024). This will introduce a statutory right for new parents to receive up to 12 weeks extra leave and pay if their children are receiving neonatal care. The right to neonatal care leave will be a day one right, but there will be a qualifying period for the right to receive neonatal care pay.
Redundancy protection for pregnant employees?
Could 2023 be the year that we see the introduction of extended protection from redundancy for pregnant employees and those recently returning from parental leave?
Currently, redundancy laws provide that an employer is under a legal obligation to offer any suitable alternative vacancies to employees on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave in priority over other employees.
The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill will extend this redundancy protection to pregnant employees as well as new parents returning to work from relevant forms of leave for a period of up to 18 months. The Bill received government approval in October 2022 and therefore the reforms are set to progress through Parliament in 2023.
Allocation of tips
The way in which employers allocate tips and gratuities is set to become the subject of legislation under the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill. This Bill is due to go into its final reading in January 2023 and therefore it is likely to be passed into law at the end of next year. The reforms include:
- A prohibition on employers from making any deductions from tips received by their staff, including administration charges, other than those required by tax law.
- A requirement for employers to share out tips in a way that is fair and transparent, with a written policy on tips and a record kept of how tips have been managed.
- A requirement for employers to have regard to a statutory Code of Practice on Tipping.
Reforms to look out for
There are also some important private members bills that have been introduced in Parliament that we may see progress through 2023, although they do not yet have government backing.
- The Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill proposes to introduce a right allowing an employee to take paid time off work to attend fertility treatment appointments, as well as a right for employees whose partners are receiving fertility treatment to take unpaid time off work to accompany them to such appointments.
- The Miscarriage Leave Bill proposes a right for employees to have three days paid leave where they experience miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy before 24 weeks.
Bank holiday for the King’s Coronation
And last but not least, in addition to the usual eight public holidays in England and Wales, next year there will be an additional bank holiday on 8 May 2023 to celebrate the King’s Coronation. Employers will need to check employment contracts to work out what the position is regarding employee entitlement to this additional bank holiday.
Rest assured we will keep you up to date on any developments as well as keeping you abreast of other employment and HR news in 2023.