Upcoming Reforms in Employment Law – What to look out for as an employer

Brexit’s ongoing impact on UK laws continues, particularly in the realm of employment legislation.

As we approach the year’s end, several Employment Laws originally instituted by the European Union are set to expire, heralding significant potential shifts for employers.

Government’s Plan for Employment Laws

The Government has outlined its intentions regarding which laws it plans to preserve or modify.

Preservation of Equality Laws

The Government has declared that the Equality Act 2010 will be reinstated before its expiry, ensuring the continued enforcement of existing discrimination protections.

Key aspects include:

  • Continued legal protections for mothers re-entering the workforce post-maternity leave, safeguarding them against potential discrimination.
  • Retention of the single source test, crucial for determining equal pay claims across different organisations, which was previously speculated to be weakened or eliminated.
  • Revision of the definition of disability. The new definition will expand beyond the current scope of ‘day-to-day activities’ to encompass a person’s capacity to engage in work life on an equal footing with others.

Amendments to Working Time Regulations

While employers are currently obliged to keep precise records of employees’ daily working hours, this requirement is slated for removal. However, employers must still maintain sufficient records to comply with the Working Time Regulations, albeit without the need to document each employee’s daily hours.

Changes in Holiday Pay Calculation

Amidst the continuity in equality legislation, the Government is set to simplify the calculation of annual leave and holiday pay. It’s anticipated that holiday pay for zero-hour contract workers and casual workers will revert to a pro-rata basis.

Employers would calculate holiday pay by multiplying the hours worked by 12.07 per cent and then by the holiday pay rate, determining the payment for annual leave.

Modifications in Consultation Requirements

Under the current Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), employers are mandated to consult with employee representatives during a TUPE transfer. The new legislation proposes a change for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and for minor TUPE transfers involving less than ten employees. These entities can directly consult their employees, provided there are no worker representatives. If representatives are present, employers must consult with them.

Most Legislation to Remain Unchanged

Despite these modifications, the Government anticipates maintaining the majority of the existing employment laws. This means that, for many employers, current policies will largely remain unaffected.

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