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We’re going through changes …

I LOVE Christmas!  This week marks the first week of full on Precept festivities, with our Christmas lunch eating, Christmas video recording and secret Santa giving…almost the end of another year!

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On a personal note it has been a FABULOUS one – our Precept family has grown with wonderful new editions who have fitted in amazingly (I am looking at you Alex!) but then we have also seen our existing staff flourish at work and home – from weddings, honeymoons, babies and awards to sticking together through thick and thin, as this year has seen a number of personal challenges for the team as well.  One thing that if for sure – we are coming out of 2023 a strong team of super heroes and I love every single one of you!

Ok, ok, soppiness over…maybe too much mulled wine or not enough mince pies, I am not sure which!  It has been a busy back end of the year for the law writers and from the off, 2024 is set to be a super busy year for employment law – holiday pay, discrimination, flexible working, the list goes on….we always keep you ahead of the game and this week’s blog is no exception – I will pull together (with a little, ok a lot of, help from my little elves!) all of the updates we have given you recently in a one stop shop for what you need to be ready for in 2024 (Spoiler alert – its going to be a busy one and you are going to need Precept by your side to be ahead of the game!)…

There’s a fair few updates coming in 2024 (including a potential new government?!)… but no need to worry, we at Precept are (as always) here to help! Even though we’ve already given you a flavour of the upcoming changes through our regular updates, we thought it would be useful to have everything we know in one place ahead of the end of the year. So… we set out a summary of the key changes below and will be putting out more detailed updates closer to the time next year as well; to make sure you don’t miss a thing sign up to our mailing list here.

Rolled up holiday pay now allowed

First up, on the 1 January 2024, rolled up holiday pay will now be allowed for irregular hours or part-year workers, happy new year! More detail on what this means can be found here.  Make sure your contracts and holiday policies are up to date to reflect the changes, if you need help then you know where we are!

Minimum wage rise

The National Living Wage (which is currently for workers over the age of 23), is set to increase from £10.42 per hour to £11.44 per hour and will also extend to 21- and 22-year-olds.  You will of course get our cheat sheet on all the new rates before April next year.

Right to leave for carers

Another expected April change, this time a new piece of legislation is expected to land which will guarantee eligible employees the right to take one week’s unpaid leave per year to care for a dependant. We recommend getting a policy in place ready to go – and that you make sure your HR and management are up to date and ready for when this comes into force.

Tips & service charges to be shared fairly

Expected in May 2024, employers must ensure that all tips and service charges are allocated fairly between all workers. So says some more new legislation. And in fact, the law is expected to go further to state that employers also need a written policy on how they deal with the tips and service charges, as well as having to keep records of the payments for three years.

Falling foul of this means that a worker can bring a claim in the employment tribunal and they can require an employer to review their tip allocation policy, and award compensation up to £5,000 per claimant.

Flexible working – a day one right?

We know there are some big changes coming up to the flexible working regime (see here for details) but it is also anticipated that the right to request a flexible working arrangement will change to apply from day one of employment. At the moment employees need 26 weeks’ continuous employment before they can make a request. We don’t yet know when this is happening (helpfully) but it is thought that it will be around July 2024.

TUPE consultation requirements change 

Consultation requirements for small businesses (those with less than 50 employees) and businesses of any size who have a small transfer (involving fewer than 10 employees), will change for transfers taking place on or after 1 July 2024, the change means that they can consult directly with employees if there are no existing representatives in place.

Right to request a predicable working pattern

Expected to come into effect in September 2024, there’s going to be a brand-new right for workers (not just employees) to request a more predictable working pattern, see our more detailed update on this here.

A duty for employers to take steps to prevent sexual harassment

From October 2024, there will be new legislation for workers to protect them from unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, this will apply to all genders, and claims can be made in the employment tribunal, but will need to be attached to a claim for sexual harassment, it will not allowed to be a standalone claim.

If an employer breaches their duty to protect workers, then they could have enforcement action taken against them from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and an uplift of 25% in any compensation awarded if the tribunal finds that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the sexual harassment.

The best way to protect your workers will be to have up to date policies in place that are actually implemented and used, that managers and workers are empowered to call out behaviour and that you provide a working environment which supports open discussions where people who express concerns are supported. Training is one thing that can really help, and we can attend your premises to provide this – or we can do this virtually to suit you and your business needs.

And remember there are some other changes to the Equality Act which come into effect from 1st January 2024. Read about those here.

Protection from redundancy

Changes are expected in 2024 for an extension to the protections that currently only apply to employees on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, to those employees who are pregnant, or who have recently returned to work following such leave.

Non-compete clause changes

There has been confirmation from the government that it intends to limit the length of non-compete clauses in employment contracts to 3 months. Legislation is intended be introduced “when parliamentary time allows” … so watch this space!

April 2025 – Neonatal care leave rights

Looking into 2025 (too soon – we’re sorry! But it’s best to be prepared isn’t it?), a new Act which gives the right to employees who have babies admitted into neonatal care the right to take paid leave (expected to be capped at 12 weeks) in addition to the other leave rights of maternity and paternity leave is on the cards. This will be a day one right.

What if a Labour government gets in, what will change then?

Most opinion polls are currently predicting that a Labour party win is on the cards for the next UK general election (the date of the next general election has not yet been announced, and can be called at any time between now and the 17 December 2024).

We could therefore see many more changes going into 2025 and 2026, the “Employment Rights Bill” which labour has indicated they will introduce to parliament within the first 100 days of office has some significant changes contained within it such as:

  • Unfair dismissal being a day one right
  • Making fire and re-hire tactics unlawful
  • New and extended legal rights for trade unions

And then further intentions have been set out, but with a lot less detail, these are:

  • Banning zero-hour contracts
  • More support for family friendly working
  • Sick pay being strengthened, and
  • Sexual harassment in the workplace being tackled.

Any major policy reforms such as these still take several months (or even longer!) to be introduced and implemented and so we are unlikely to see any of these changes until 2026, keep your eye out for our updates and you’ll be sure not to miss a thing!

So… a lot to take in and updates to documents needed in 2024 (and even more for 2025/26 potentially!), but never fear, the team here at Precept are and will be fully abreast of the changes and we can help and support in updating your policies and offering training to your teams, just give us a shout!