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Working time and annual leave

The decision of the Supreme Court in Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland -v- Agnew should be handed down during 2023. The case, which was heard in December 2022, will determine whether a series of unlawful deductions from pay is broken if the deductions are more than three months apart.

Discrimination and harassment

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill proposes the following measures:

At the second reading of the Private Member’s Bill on 21 October 2022, the Government advised that it was supporting the Bill.

Flexible and atypical working

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill 2022-23 is a Private Members Bill which would make changes to the right to request flexible working, including permitting an employee to make two requests in a year and requiring employers to consult with employees before refusing a request.

The Government confirmed it would support the Bill in its response to its 2021 consultation, making flexible working the default.

Family-friendly measures

A number of Private Members Bills will make changes to family-friendly rights if passed in 2023. The Carer’s Leave Bill 2022-23 will entitle employees to take a week’s unpaid leave in any 12-month period in order to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need. On 21 October 2022, the Government announced that it was backing the Bill.

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill 2022-23 will introduce a right to leave and pay for employees with responsibility for children receiving neonatal care. The original intention was for parents with a child who received neonatal care to be able to add up to 12 weeks of the time spent in neonatal care onto the end of the maternity or paternity leave. The Bill provides for a minimum of one week’s leave, but this could be extended by the Regulations.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill 2022-23 will extend protection from redundancy during or after pregnancy or after periods of maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave for up to 18 months after the return to work. On 21 October 2022, the day of the second reading, the Government announced that it was backing the Private Member’s Bill.

Industrial relations

The Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill 2022-23 will provide for minimum service levels in connection with strike action relating to transport services. The Government has indicated that it is considering extending this measure to other public services and may introduce further measures to deter industrial action in the public sector.

Pay and benefits

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill 2022-23 provides that an employer must ensure that the total amount of tips, gratuities and service charges paid is allocated fairly between workers of the employer at that place of business. On 15 July 2022, the Government announced that it was backing this Bill.

Termination of employment

In early 2022, the Government announced plans to introduce a new Statutory Code of Practice on dismissal and re-engagement (so-called ‘fire and rehire’).

Human rights and modern slavery

On 22 June 2022, the Government introduced the Bill of Rights Bill 2022-23 which aims to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and create a new domestic human rights framework around the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), to which the UK will remain a signatory. On 07 September 2022, it was reported that the Bill was being dropped before its second reading. The Government was reported to be looking at different legislative options for reform. On 07 November 2022, however, it was reported that the Bill would be back in parliament shortly.

Please note that this information is for general guidance only and should not substitute professional legal advice. If you have specific concerns, we recommend consulting one of our legal experts.


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