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Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.
From 6 April 2024, flexible working requests will be a day one right
The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 were recently presented to parliament for review.
If approved, these regulations will remove the current requirement for an employee to have 26 weeks of service before making a flexible working request; making it a day one right from 6 April 2024.
However, additional regulations are still needed to implement other changes, such as increasing the number of statutory requests allowed in 12 months from one to two. It’s not yet confirmed when these changes will come into effect, and Acas is also working on finalising its updated statutory code of practice.
Until more regulations are released, just ask BrightLightning: What is the process for flexible working requests?
April 2024 will see the introduction of Carer's Leave
Draft regulations were released last week, confirming that—pending government approval
Carer’s Leave will be introduced as a brand-new right on 6th April 2024.
The draft regulations have also provided detailed information regarding how this leave entitlement will work in practice. According to the regulations, half a working day will be considered as the minimum period of leave, whereas the maximum period will be "one continuous week" per rolling 52-week period.
The employee must give notice of their leave, and the length of notice should be whichever is the longer duration between double the amount of time that the employee wants to take off in that instance and three days.
For more on the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, ask BrightLightning: What is Carer’s leave?
As of April 2024, pregnant employees will have new redundancy protections
It’s also been confirmed that if the regulations are approved, employees who inform their employer that they are pregnant on or after 6 April 2024 will be given the same protection as those who are on maternity leave during a redundancy exercise.
This means that pregnant employees will have the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy, if one is available, above all other employees.
The protection will start as soon as the employee informs their employer about their pregnancy and will continue until 18 months after either the expected week of childbirth or the exact date of birth if communicated to the employer.
Similar protections will also be given to employees on adoption leave and shared parental leave.
For more advice on this topic, ask BrightLightning: Do I have to do a redundancy process differently for pregnant employees?
The draft of the statutory Code of Practice for allocating tips is under consultation The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 has been recently added to our statute books. The main objective of this law is to make sure that tips are distributed fairly among workers and that it’s transparent to them how tips are treated in the workplace.
The draft statutory Code of Practice has been released for consultation
It guides how tips can be gathered and distributed, factors to consider when allocating and distributing tips, and details on transparency measures—including the requirement to keep a written tipping policy and maintain accurate tipping records.
The government's response and the final version of the Code are expected to be published in Spring 2024.
Looking for more information on this new law, ask BrightLightning: What's the new law on employees keeping all of their tips?
Guidance on recruitment and employee records under consultation by the ICO
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has released two draft guidance documents on data protection compliance for employers regarding recruitment and data retention practices. These guides are now open to public consultation.
The guidance provides information on topics such as:
- Selecting an appropriate lawful basis for retention purposes
- Processing candidates' data fairly and lawfully
- Accurately maintaining records
- Meeting security and data sharing requirements
- Complying with employees' rights as data subjects
And that’s a wrap for 2023—what a year it has been! As we head into the festive season, we're taking a break, but we'll be back in January with more updates.
In the meantime, it's important to stay informed about the upcoming changes in employment law. Our 2024 employment law guide is the perfect resource to help protect your business and your people. Don't miss out on this vital information - download your FREE copy today!