An Employer’s Guide to Recent Changes in Legislation

Employer legislation

It’s fair to say that the start of the new financial year has introduced some critical legislative changes that significantly affect the future landscape of the workplace, with further changes coming in October. This marks a pivotal shift in how businesses operate, emphasising a renewed focus on flexibility, protection, and care within the work environment.

We’ve put together this handy crib sheet to outline any actionable next- steps and to help you strategically guide your organisation through this transition;

1. New Rules Around Flexible Working Requests

The Employment Rights (Flexible Working) Act 2023 marks a significant shift, allowing employees to request flexible working arrangements from day one of their employment. It’s a move that emphasises the evolving nature of work-life balance in today’s world.

Key Updates for Employers:

  • Response Time: The timeframe for employers to respond to a flexible working request has been reduced to two months, necessitating a more streamlined and efficient approach.
  • Increased Requests: Employees can now make two statutory requests for flexible working within any 12-month period, underscoring the need for employers to be adept at managing these inquiries.

Actionable Insight:

As a business owner, it’s essential to grasp the nuances of this legislation. Ensure your HR team is well-versed in the eligibility criteria for flexible working, the business reasons to consider when determining a request, and have a clear process for handling these promptly and fairly.

2. Extended Legal Protection from Redundancy for Pregnant Staff

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 reinforces the importance of safeguarding staff during pregnancy and family-related leaves. The Act extends existing protections to pregnant employees and those returning from maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave.

What This Means for Employers:

  • Priority Consideration: Employees returning from these types of leave should be given priority in retaining their roles in the event of redundancy, highlighting the importance of fair and considerate workforce planning.

Actionable Insight:

Update your redundancy policies in line with this legislation, educate your HR and management teams in how to uphold these protections. Operationally, take time to develop effective and thought-through strategies to smoothly assist employees transitioning back to work. Use the opportunity to reinforce your organisation’s dedication to employee well-being and equality, enhancing loyalty and your employer brand in the process.

3. Carer’s Leave Act 2023

This new law provides employees with the right to take up to one week of unpaid leave per year to care for dependents with long-term illnesses, from their first day of employment.

Navigating Requests:

While it’s generally not advisable to deny a request for carer’s leave, employers retain the right to postpone it if they believe it would significantly disrupt business operations.

Actionable Insight:

Adapt your leave policies to include this new entitlement, ensuring employees are informed and can access this provision smoothly. Demonstrating your support for, and understanding  of, employee’s broader life roles will enhance your professional relationships, employee engagement and overall loyalty. We also suggest establishing a system to monitor carer’s leave, to ensure compliance and to gather insights into the utilisation of these policies.

How We Can Help

Understanding the new rules and implementing these changes can feel overwhelming and confusing. From sounding board style advice to hands-on revision of your current policies, we can help however works for you best.

Let our team of experts support you to ensure your business remains compliant, while fostering a supportive and flexible work environment for your employees.

For further guidance or to discuss how these changes might specifically impact your organisation, feel free to reach out.

 

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