Employment news – November 2022 round-up
21 November 2022
Private Members’ Bill: Redundancy Protection
The Government has confirmed that it is backing a new Private Members’ Bill, which passed its second reading in Parliament on 21 October 2022. The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave Bill) will give the Secretary of State power to make regulations extending the protection against redundancy that already applies during periods of maternity and other family leave.
Currently, employers must offer a woman on maternity leave a suitable alternative vacancy, if one is available, with the employer or an associated employer. The new Bill will allow this protection to be extended to the period from when the employee notifies the employer of her pregnancy, to 18 months after the birth, meaning that it will extend at least six months after the return to work from maternity leave.
Details of the new provisions will be set out in regulations, and similar protections will also apply to those taking adoption leave and shared parental leave. There is no confirmed date for these new protections to come into force.
This Bill is now the fourth Private Members’ Bill concerning employment rights to receive Government backing. These Bills are serving to plug many of the legislative gaps that were anticipated to be included as part of a wider ranging Employment Bill, which was missing from the Queen’s speech earlier this year.
National Minimum Wage – rates from April 2023
The new rates for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage have been announced by the Government, to take affect from 1 April 2023.
|Current rate||Rate from 1 April 2023|
|National Living Wage (23+)||£9.50||£10.42|
These new rates follow the recommendations made to the Government by the Low Pay Commission, which were accepted in full. An increase of 9.7% to the National Living Wage means that it is on track to meet the Government’s target of two-thirds of median earnings by 2024.
Ban on exclusivity clauses
The Exclusivity Terms for Zero Hours Workers (Unenforceability and Redress) regulations 2022 will come into force on 5 December 2022.
These new regulations extend the current restrictions on the use of exclusivity terms in zero hours contracts, to low income workers (those earning at or below the lower earnings limit, currently £123 per week). Exclusivity terms are defined as any contractual term which prohibits a worker from doing work or performing services under another contract or arrangement, or which prohibits a worker from doing so without their employer’s consent.
Employees will be protected from unfair dismissal if they breach an exclusivity clause in their contract, and workers will be protected against any detriment.
Draft guidance on workers’ health
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published new draft guidance on information about workers’ health. This follows previous draft guidance on monitoring at work, which was published earlier in October (see last month’s news roundup).
Health information is some of the most sensitive personal information that employers will process about their workers. This new draft guidance includes information about the lawful basis for processing health data, data minimisation, transparency and retention. It provides detailed guidance on carrying out impact assessments (DPIAs), data sharing, security and automated decision making, and covers topics such as sickness records, occupational health, medical examination, genetic testing and health monitoring.
The draft guidance is open for consultation until 26 January 2023.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at November 2022.