Legislation round-up Jan 24

by | Jan 5, 2024 | News

National Wage increases 

The National Living Wage will increase by more than a pound an hour from April 2024, the Treasury  has announced. 

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that the pay threshold will rise from £10.42 per hour to £11.44, the  largest increase in more than a decade. 

It will also be extended to 21-year-olds for the first time, meaning overall a pay rise of £1,800 a year  for a full-time worker. 

National minimum wage for 18 to 20-year-olds will also increase by £1.11 to £8.60 per hour, the  Government has said. 

Apprentices will have their minimum hourly rates boosted, with an 18-year-old seeing their minimum  hourly pay increase by over 20 per cent, going from £5.28 to £6.40 an hour. 

Holiday Pay 

Time Limitations:- 

There has been yet another development in a tribunal claim relating to holiday pay. Prior to the case  of Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland & Anor v Agnew & Ors, Employees had a 3- month time limit from the last holiday underpayment to request their holidays were backdated and  corrected for the last 2 years. If their last underpaid holiday was more than 3 months ago, they had no  right to ask for it.  

The UK’s Supreme Court last week diminished the 3-month time limit so employees can claim underpayment of holidays going back 2 years. Note that Northern Ireland does not have a limit on the  2-year timeframe!  

Holiday Pay rates:- 

The Department for Business and Trade has recently announced plans to make significant changes to  annual leave and holiday pay laws. A response to two consultations and draft regulations have  been published which, subject to parliamentary approval, will make the following key changes: 

From 1 January 2024, the law will more clearly specify what is included in holiday pay for the first four  weeks’ annual leave (reg 13 WTR 1998) so that, to the extent it does not already do so, it must  now include: 

  • Payments, including commission payments and performance-related bonuses, which are intrinsically linked to the performance of tasks which a worker is obliged to carry out under the terms of their contract; 
  • Payments for professional or personal status relating to length of service, seniority or professional qualifications; and

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  • Other payments, such as overtime payments, which have been regularly paid to a worker in the 52 weeks preceding the calculation date.

Payments for the remaining 1.6 weeks and above can continue to be paid at a rate of basic pay plus guaranteed overtime.  

Irregular-hours and part-year workers, including rolled-up holiday pay 

In relation to leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024, provided they meet the relevant statutory definition, these workers will be removed from the scope of the existing holiday entitlements under  regulation 13 and 13A of the WTR 1998 (set out above). They will instead be subject to new  regulations, which will provide: 

  • A new holiday entitlement whereby holiday accrues based on 12.07% of the hours worked in the previous pay period; and
  • An optional right for employers to implement a system of rolled-up holiday pay for their irregular-hours and part-year workers. This will be based on a 12.07% uplift on pay paid at the time work is done, instead of when the worker takes annual leave. 

A worker is an irregular-hours worker if, under their contract, the number of paid hours that they will  work in each pay period during the term of their contract in that year is wholly or mostly variable. A worker is a part-year worker if, under the terms of their contract, they are required to work only part  of that year and there are periods within that year (during the term of the contract) of at least a week which they are not required to work and for which they are not paid (ignoring any periods of sick leave or statutory family leave). 

Updated Guidance published on 1st January 2024: Holiday pay and entitlement reforms from 1  January 2024 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk

Equality Act 

The Government has published draft legislation to amend the Equality Act 2010 with effect from 1  January 2024. The Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Regulations 2023 modify certain EU-derived  discrimination protections which would otherwise have disappeared at the end of this year due to  Brexit. 

Amendments include:  

  • The right to claim indirect discrimination by association (to cover a person who does not hold  the relevant protected characteristic but suffers the same disadvantage at the hands of the  employer’s PCP as those who do have that characteristic) 
  • An amendment to guidance on the definition of disability to state that consideration of a  person’s ability to participate fully and effectively in working life on an equal basis with other  workers is relevant when looking at ‘day-to-day activities’. 
  • A ‘single source’ test for establishing an equal pay comparator (the idea that an equal pay  comparator can potentially work for a different business so long as the body responsible for  setting terms is the same)
  • An extension of direct discrimination protection to cover discriminatory statements made  about not wanting to recruit people with certain protected characteristics even where there  is no active recruitment process ongoing and no identifiable victim.
  • Confirmation that employment discrimination on grounds of breastfeeding falls under the  protected characteristic of sex. 

Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 

This piece of legislation received Royal Assent in May 2023. In summary there is a new legal obligation  for employers to: 

  • Fairly allocate tips over which they exercise control or significant influence (for example paid  via card machine and going into a central bank account) and  
  • Pay workers in full within a month of the payment made by the customer Have a written policy where tips are paid on a regular basis 
  • Maintain a record of tips for three years

Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 

Received Royal Assent on the 18th September 2023.  

  • Under this legislation all workers will have the legal right to request a predictable working pattern. This includes zero-hour contracts 
  • A minimum service requirement of 26 weeks 
  • Two applications allowed in a 12-month period
  • Employers will have one month to respond.

Flexible Working 

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 

As mentioned on a blog back in July, amendments to the flexible working legislation was currently  waiting for Royal Assent. This was granted and the following changes are expected to be put in place. 

  • Removal of requirement for employee to explain impact of request 
  • Employees able to make up to two requests within a 12-month period
  • Employers will be required to respond to flexible working requests within 2 months rather  than the previous 3 months 
  • Mandatory consultation before rejection 
  • Day one right 

Updated January 2024 

Redundancy protection for new and expectant parents 

At the back end of 2023, the Government announced changes to provide protection for new and  expectant parents. The Maternity Leave, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment)  Regulations 2024 (still in draft form) are set to be brought into force on 6th April 2024. 

The regulations will extend the added protection currently afforded to employees on maternity,  adoption and shared parental leave during a redundancy exercise. Employees on the types of leave  have a right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy, where one exists, before all other employees. 

Employees who inform their employer of their pregnancy on or after 6 April 2024 will also now receive  the added protection throughout their pregnancy and all the way through to 18 months after the  baby’s date of birth if the employee tells their employer of this date. If not, the protected period will  end 18 months after the expected week of childbirth. Employees taking adoption leave will be covered  for 18 months from the date of placement. 

Employees whose maternity leave or adoption leave ends on or after 6 April 2024 will be entitled to  the added protection in so far as it applies to the period after the birth/adoption. 

Carer’s Leave 

The draft Carer’s Leave Regulations will introduce a new right for employees to take time off work,  subject to parliamentary approval, from 6th April 2024. 

Carer’s leave will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment. Staff will  be able to take a maximum one working week of leave per 12 month rolling period. 

Eligible employees are those who have caring responsibilities for a dependant who has a  long-term care need. “Long term needs” is defined as: 

Anyone with a condition that meets the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010; 

Illness or injury (physical or mental) that requires or is likely to require care for more than  three months, or; 

Old age. 

Legislation changes by timeline: 

January 2024 – 

Holiday entitlement and pay – See updated link above for ‘normal remuneration’ and right to carry  over holiday. 

Equality Act Amendments

 

April 2024 – 

Increase of Minimum Wage and other statutory rates 

Flexible Working Act 2023 

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy & Family Leave) Act 2023 

Carer’s Leave Act 2023 

Holiday entitlement and pay – accrual method of 12.07% of hours worked for irregular hours and  allowing ‘rolled up’ holiday pay 

July 2024 – 

TUPE Regulations  

September 2024 – 

The Workers (Predictable Terms & Conditions) Act 2023 expected in September 2024 

October 2024 

Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 due to come into force from October  2024. 

Expected Legislation beyond 2024 ….. 

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 

Enacted in 2023, the Neonatal Care (leave and pay) Act is expected to come into force in April 2025.  The Act will grant parents of newborn babies who are hospitalised in their first 28 days of life for 7 days  or more, the right to take neonatal leave and pay for up to 12 weeks. 

This new legislation ensures that parents are able to spend more time with their babies who are having  crucial care, without the worry of taking unpaid leave or returning to work. Parents who take neonatal  leave and pay are also entitled to return to the same job after their period of absence. 

For more information on any of the above please contact the Spire HR Team on 01925 626253 or info@spirehr.couk

 

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