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The Evolution of UK Employment Law: An Ever-Changing Landscape

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Welcome back to the Auxilium HR blog, your trusted source for insights into the ever-evolving world of Human Resources and employment law. Today, we're t

aking a deep dive into some significant changes in UK employment law that are set to reshape the workplace landscape in 2023. These changes centre around the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, the introduction of new measures to prevent sexual harassment, and the extension of redundancy protection. Let's unpack these topics in detail.


The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill: A New Era for UK Employment Law

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, which was intended to streamline the removal of certain retained EU laws, will no longer be implemented. The UK Government has decided to abandon the sunset clause contained in the bill, which would have automatically revoked EU legislation not expressly retained on December 31, 2023.

Instead, all EU laws will continue to remain in effect unless explicitly repealed, and a list of legislation to be revoked will be included in the Bill. As of now, there are three relatively specific employment law-related regulations on that list, namely:

  1. The Posted Workers (Enforcement of Employment Rights) Regulations 2016

  2. The Posted Workers (Agency Workers) Regulations 2020

  3. Community Drivers' Hours and Working Time (Road Tankers) (Temporary Exception) (Amendment) Regulations 2006.

Although the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill will not be enacted, it is important to note that separate changes to the Working Time Regulations and TUPE are still being considered. A consultation on these proposed changes is set to open shortly after the decision to abandon the bill. Employers and employees should stay informed about any developments in the legal framework to understand their rights and obligations regarding employment laws.


Prevention of Sexual Harassment: A Proactive Approach to a Safer Workplace

In a bid to create a safer and more inclusive workplace, the UK government is introducing a new proactive duty requiring employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment. This measure will reintroduce employer liability for harassment of staff by customers or other third parties. The government's commitment to tackling sexual harassment is evident in its recent consultation, which revealed that 96% of respondents believe the law should require employers to take proactive steps to protect their staff from sexual harassment. This new duty will ensure a greater focus on prevention and raise awareness of employers' expectations.


In addition to this, the government has conducted a comprehensive review of the existing literature on sexual harassment in the workplace. This review covers the prevalence of sexual harassment, the impact on individuals and organisations, the

factors that contribute to sexual harassment, and the effectiveness of interventions. The findings of this review will undoubtedly contribute to the development of more effective strategies for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.




Redundancy Protection Extension: A Step Forward for Parental Rights

The UK government is also extending redundancy protection beyond maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave. This extension will cover any period of pregnancy and the months immediately following a return to work after family leave. This move is in response to a government consultation that found new parents continue to face unfair discrimination. The extension of redundancy protection will ensure that new parents are protected from discrimination in the workplace, regardless of gender and circumstance.


In line with this, the UK government has announced that it would extend the legal protection against redundancy for pregnant women for six months after they return to work. The same protections will be afforded to those taking adoption or shared parental leave. This move came in response to a government consultation, which found that new parents continue to face unfair discrimination.


Conclusion

These changes to UK employment law are set to significantly impact the workplace in 2023. As always, it's crucial for both employers and employees to stay informed about these changes to ensure compliance and protect their rights. Stay tuned to the Auxilium HR blog for more updates and insights into the world of HR and employment law.


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