Employment law: What changes are coming down the track?
The UK formally left the European Union on 31st January 2020. In the past three years, the UK government has had much to deal with (Covid, three Prime Ministers, and the passing of the UK’s longest reigning monarch to mention just a few). But it has now prepared plans to start using its “Brexit freedoms” to make changes to UK employment law.
Working Time Regulations
The government plans to introduce reforms to have one holiday leave entitlement by merging normal holiday leave with additional holiday leave. This may result in calculation of holiday pay reverting to the old method, which excluded commission or overtime for example.
The government also plans to allow rolled up holiday pay, which allows employers to include an employee’s holiday pay in their basic pay, rather than paying them when their holiday is actually taken. In our opinion, this proposal could be a positive change to legislation. For example, for those who work ad hoc or limited hours.
Finally, the government plans to remove the requirement for record keeping under the working time regulations for working hours though many employers will continue to keep these records in any event. This could however lead to employers taking advantage of vulnerable employees.
The government plans to remove the requirement to consult with appointed representatives when there are fewer than 50 employees in the business and fewer than 10 employees being transferred. There is currently an exemption for micro businesses (a company with 10 or fewer employees), but this change will mean that where a business has between 10 and 49 employees, where 9 or fewer are transferring, they will also be exempted from the collective consultation rules. This will obviously only apply where there is a transfer of part of a business, not a whole business.
The government plans to legislate to limit the length of non-compete clauses to three months with the intention that this will allow employees more flexibility to join a competitor or begin a rival business. This change will not impact on other restrictive covenants such as confidentiality clauses and will not impact on restrictions on (former) public sector employees under the business appointment rules. The change will not prevent employers from restricting their employees’ activities during (paid) garden leave or notice periods and it will also have no impact on non-solicitation clauses.
The above changes do not require primary legislation so can happen quickly. The government’s intention was to introduce some of the changes before the end of 2023, though there is no defined timetable as yet.
If you would like advice on any employment issues you are facing, please call the team on 0207 388 1658 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katherine Hughes, Trainee Solicitor
Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written which may affect the information and advice given therein.