It's sometimes difficult to stay on top of all the changes that occur within UK Employment Law, so we have created a straightforward monthly summary that will breakdown all of the recent changes in the law that businesses should now be aware of.
23 Jun 2022 – Using agency workers during strikes
The government has confirmed that it will introduce new regulations to:
Allow employers to use agency workers to plug staffing gaps during strikes (currently it’s unlawful for agencies to supply workers for this purpose)
Significantly increase the maximum damages that can be awarded against a trade union taking unlawful industrial action. For unions with 100,000 or more members, the cap on damages – currently £250,000 – will rise to £1 million.
The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 have been laid before Parliament and will come into force when they are made (usually a month after being ‘laid’) and the Liability of Trade Unions in Proceedings in Tort (Increase of Limits on Damages) Order 2022 come into force on 21 July 2022.The regulations apply to England, Scotland and Wales.
1 Jul 2022 - Fit note certification rule change
From this date nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists working in GP practices or in hospitals will be able to issue and sign fit notes. The change follows on from the digitalisation of fit notes on 6 April 2022 (see above) and is intended to free up GP time for consultations and streamline the process for patients, employers and the NHS.
Regulations introducing the change were produced on 10 June 2022 and apply to England, Scotland and Wales.
12 Jul 2022 – Ban on exclusivity clauses regulations
Draft regulations to include those earning below the lower earnings limit (set at £123 a week in the current tax year) in the ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts have now been put before Parliament. They will come into force 28 days after they have approved.
15 Jul 2022 - Neonatal care bill receives government backing
The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill received government backing on this date. It will allow parents whose babies need hospital neonatal care to take 12 weeks’ paid leave in addition to their statutory maternity or paternity leave. The right will:
Be available from day one of employment
Apply to parents whose babies are admitted to hospital up to the age of 28 days
Apply to babies who need to stay in hospital for 7 days continuously or more.
The reform was proposed in May 2020 following a consultation by Teresa May’s government in 2019.
15 Jul 2022 - Tipping bill receives government backing
A private members bill that will make it unlawful for employers to withhold tips from staff has received government backing. A new statutory Code of Practice on how tips should be distributed will also be developed, and workers will gain a new right to request information on an employer’s tipping record which will help them to bring a tribunal claim under the new rules.
The government reaffirmed its commitment to changing the rules on tipping in September 2021.
That's all for now, come back next month for the latest updates.