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Ask the Legal Expert - How will developments in employment law impact our business?

View profile for Catherine Almeida
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Employment law is consistently developing, as legislation can often take longer to catch up with the changes in employment trends we see across workplaces. Working-from-home setups have revolutionised the way many of us work, with employers offering increasingly flexible options in a bid to attract and retain teams.

For employers, it is increasingly important to understand the impact that new legislation may have on their business. Here are the top five changes to employment law which employers ought to be aware of as we look towards 2024 and beyond.

1. Carer's Leave Act 2023

Likely to come into force in 2024, this Act will introduce a right for employees to take up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave per year. This may be used to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need, and will better support employees who must balance work with caring responsibilities.

2. Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill 2023

This Act is expected to result in extended protection from redundancy, ensuring that employees returning from maternity, adoption and shared parental leave receive enhanced protection from redundancy for at least six months after their return to work. It expected that this protection will cover employees from when they tell their employer they are pregnant. No date has been announced for implementation of regulations arising from powers under the Act.

3. Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill 2022-23

The main change due to the Bill will mean workers have the right to request flexible working twice in a 12-month period (rather than once). This will remove the obligation on employees to explain what effect their requested change may have on the employer - and how any such effect might be dealt with – while also introducing a compulsory consultation before the request is refused. It is expected that through secondary legislation, the right to request flexible working will be a day one right, removing the current 26-week qualifying period. The date when this will come into force is still to be to be confirmed.

4. Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

This Act will allow both workers and agency workers to request more predictable terms and conditions of work - whether they’re on short- or long-term contracts, aiming to better protect workers. A minimum service requirement to access the right is expected to be 26 weeks. This implementation of the Act is likely to come into effect through secondary legislation in late 2024.

5. Workers Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill

The Workers Protection Bill will introduce a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their workforce and to give power to uplift sexual harassment compensation by up to 25% for employers who breach the duty. The overall aim is to strengthen the current safeguards against harassment. This implementation is likely to be in late 2024.

Employers looking to discuss how these changes may impact them can contact us here at JCP Solicitors, for impartial, expert advice and guidance. Get in touch today: call 02920 379570 or email Catherine directly