Employment Law Updates
In the ever-evolving landscape of employment, keeping pace with the latest legal developments is crucial. Employment law isn't static; it's a dynamic realm shaped by societal changes, court decisions, and legislative updates. Staying informed about these changes is not just prudent—it's essential for employers, employees, and anyone with a vested interest in fair and equitable workplaces.
There are many Acts coming into force in 2024, the act on Protection from Redundancy (pregnancy and family leave) will impact SMEs as they will have to take extra precautions when managing their redundancy process. Updates to this act include:
-Emphasis on taking extra care, ensuring suitable alternative roles are offered if available
-The protected period may be set out in the secondary legislation, it may include ‘after’ the end of pregnancy
-Aside from those already protected, the Act extends protection to: a pregnant employee who is in ‘a protected period of pregnancy’ , an employee who has recently suffered a miscarriage, maternity returners, adoption leave returners and shared parental leave returners.
Another Act coming into force in 2024 will be the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2024. This allows workers the right to request a predictable working pattern. Employers may refuse the request with the correct grounds, but they will have to follow statutory processes. Failure to do so will lead to legal consequences and financial penalties.
Workers are entitled to request change if there is a lack of predictability in relation to pattern of work, for example those with zero-hour contracts. The worker is granted 2 requests per 12-month period. Overall, the main objective is to extend a worker's contract to a Fixed Term or Permanent Contract. Employers must respond to requests made within a one-month period. Employers will need to understand the new right and put in place a policy to deal with requests, arrange a meeting, draft an outcome letter and hold an appeal. One month is a short timescale to complete these tasks, the platform BreatheHR can assist throughout the processes of formally responding to requests. The refusal grounds include:
- Burden of additional costs
- Detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff
- Detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand
- Detrimental impact on other aspects of temporary work agency’s, hirer’s, or employers' business
- Insufficiency of work during the periods the worker or agency worker proposes to work
- Planned structural changes
This change, that will be implemented in 2024, could be difficult for small businesses, especially those in hospitality. Due to the fact its such an unpredictable environment, they need that level of flexibility from their staff. However, it could also be beneficial as employees may become more reliable with fixed hours.