With the arrival of the new year, there are a number of employment law changes that have been confirmed and are expected that employers will need to take action on to meet its obligations in 2023.

Here are five action points that employers should consider now:

1. Increase to national living wage

In the Autumn statement, it was confirmed that the National Living Wage (NLW) will see it largest ever increase by 9.7% for all workers aged 23 years old and over. This will take the hourly rate from £9.50 per hour to £10.42 per hour from 1 April 2023.

There will also be increases to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for workers who are aged 22 and under as well as the Apprentice rate.

Employers should review their pay rates against these new rates and increase wages where necessary from 1 April 2023.

2. Increase to statutory sick and family-related pay

From 6 April 2023, statutory sick pay (SSP) will increase from £99.35 to £109.40 per week.

Family related statutory pay (including maternity (SMP), adoption (SAP), paternity (SPP), shared parental (ShPP) and parental bereavement (SPBP) pay will also increase from £156.66 to £172.48 per week.

The Lower Earnings Limit that must be earned to qualify for many employment-related statutory payments, will stay the same at £123.

Employers need to make sure that these new rates apply for all employees on sick and family-related leave and that any reference to statutory rates within HR policies are also updated.

3. Extra bank holiday

The Government has confirmed there will be an extra bank holiday this year to mark the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III on Monday 8 May 2023.

Although many businesses will decide to treat this extra bank holiday in the same way as other bank holidays as a gesture of goodwill, there is no statutory right to time off and so it is the wording of the contract of employment that will determine whether this is an entitlement or whether you can reach an alternative agreement with your team.

As there will be three bank holidays in May, many individuals may look to book annual leave around these bank holidays to make the most of the break.

Employers should plan in advance now by checking their contracts and communicating their approach to the additional bank holiday as well as how best to book annual leave to employees in advance to avoid any disruption.

4. Flexible working requests

At present, the right to request flexible working applies after 26 weeks employment. Moving forwards, the Government has confirmed that UK employees will be able to request flexible working including part time hours or home working from their first day of employment.

5. Employment law yet to be confirmed…

There are a number of other employment law changes yet to be confirmed but that are potentially on the horizon this year and beyond. This includes, statutory neonatal leave and pay to be introduced, a new legal duty to pass on all tips to workers and a duty requiring employers to prevent sexual harassment, explicitly including protections from third-party harassment.

Did you miss any of the main employment law changes from 2022?

1. Temporary right to work checks

All UK employers have a duty to prevent illegal working in the UK and must check that workers have the right to work when they take up employment.

The temporary measures that came into force during the pandemic allowing right to work checks to be carried out virtually has now ended. Employers must now undertake the check by physically checking documents or using a certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to complete their digital right to work checks.

2. Calculating holiday entitlement for part year workers

As a result of the Harpur Trust v Brazel case, the Supreme Court handed down its judgement that part-year workers should not have their annual leave entitlement pro rata based on the weeks worked. Instead, they should receive 5.6 weeks entitlement each year. It also confirmed that holiday pay should be based on a 52 working week average.

The case rejected the use of using the 12.07% of hours worked method in calculating leave and pay entitlement.

The Government has now launched a consultation on calculating holiday entitlement for part-year and irregular hours workers. The consultation period is due to end on 9 March 2023. It proposes introducing a holiday entitlement reference period to ensure holiday pay and entitlement is directly proportionate to the time spent working.

What’s next for employers?

If you are a business owner impacted by these employment law changes and you would like to be involved in the consultation to express your views, you can do so by clicking here.

If you would like to discuss any of the above changes in employment law further with a member team of HR consultants, please contact us by emailing hr@nortonloxley.com