Employment Law Updates – August 2023

There have been many recent changes in the world of employment law. Over the past few months, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill and the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill have received royal assent.

It’s crucial for employers to stay informed about their employees’ rights, the procedures they must adhere to, in order to prevent complaints and, potentially, tribunal claims.

This article provides an overview of these recent updates:

Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill has recently received Royal Assent. This development enhances an employee’s right to request a flexible working pattern. Flexible working encompasses various scenarios, including flexible hours and the location of work. This change reflects the increasing number of employers and employees recognising the benefits of remote work and their willingness to adapt to the shift in work culture post-pandemic.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 will introduce the following changes to the statutory right of flexible working, which will be implemented via the appropriate statutory instrument in the next twelve months:

  • Employees can make two flexible working requests within a 12-month period.
  • Employees no longer need to explain the impact of their request on their employer’s business when making a request.
  • Employers cannot deny a request unless they’ve properly consulted the employee.
  • Employers must address the request within 2 months of receiving it.

The key change is the ability to make two requests within a 12 month period. Notably however, there’s still no right to appeal a refusal of a flexible working request (although it’s still recommended under the Acas Code of Practice). Despite suggestions that flexible working becomes a day 1 right, employees still need to have been employed for 26 weeks before making a request.

The Government does however seem committed to making these rights available from the start of employment at some point and some employers, like Tesco (the largest to do so), have already updated their policies to allow employees to request flexible working from their first day.

Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023

The royal assent of the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill marks another positive step for employees, mainly in the hospitality sector. This act prohibits employers from withholding service charges and mandates that tips be allocated fairly. An estimated additional £200 million is expected to benefit employees, though the broader impact on wages and the hospitality sector remains uncertain.

Key Changes

  • Tips must be paid to workers within a month of receipt.
  • Employers are required to record all received tips.
  • This record must be maintained for 3 years.
  • Employers must have a policy detailing the handling of tips (only applicable to businesses with regular tipping).
  • Agency workers are also entitled to these rights under the act.

Contact us

If you have any concerns related to these updates, please contact our Employment team. Additionally, join us for our in-person seminars in Cardiff on on 21 September and Derby 26 September, where we’ll discuss recent changes to employment law and delve into the advantages and challenges of artificial intelligence.

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