Employment Law – Just Like London Buses!
Every now and then you get one of those days for employment law and 10 May 2023 has to go down as one of those, with the Government making two announcements that will have a real impact on employment law in the UK.
The first was the announcement that the “sunset” clause is being removed from the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill that is currently making its way through Parliament. As originally drafted, almost all EU derived law would have been automatically revoked on 31 December 2023 (the sunset date) unless the Government specifically opted to preserve it.
This would have had a major impact on employment law much of which is derived from the EU and could have seen, for example, the Working Time Regulations, the Agency Worker Regulations and TUPE no longer applying from the start of 2024.
However, with the Government’s decision to remove the sunset clause, it does mean that EU derived law will remain in force the UK unless it is expressly abolished. The Government has issued a list the EU derived law that will be abolished on 31 December 2023. That list contains no significant employment law so the cliff edge that employers were facing at the end of the year has been removed. Whether the Government will look to abolish any EU derived employment law after this date is something we will need to wait and see on.
At the same time, the Government also issued a policy paper “Smarter Regulation to Grow the Economy”. Included in this are the Government’s proposals to reform the existing stock of regulation. Those proposals do include the following significant changes to employment law:
- Amending the Working Time Regulations to remove requirements on business for working hour records to be kept for almost all members of the workforce
- Amending the Working Time Regulations to reduce “the administrative burden and complexity of calculating holiday pay”. This will see rolled-up holiday pay introduced, and merging the current two separate leave entitlements (4 weeks so called “Euro leave” and the additional 1.6 weeks statutory entitlement) into one pot of statutory annual leave
- Amending the information and consultation requirements under TUPE, by removing this requirement for businesses with fewer than 50 people and transfers affecting less than 10 employees, allowing businesses to consult directly with the affected employees; and
- Limiting the length of non-compete clauses in contracts of employment to a maximum of 3 months.
There are no dates provided as to when these changes will come into effect but they do represent a significant level of proposed employment law reform which, save perhaps for the reform of non-compete clauses ,most employers are likely to welcome.
If you have any questions, please contact Matt Jenkin.