Mon 04 Dec 2023

Employment Law Round Up - December 2023

Our monthly employment law round up.

Employment aspects of the Autumn statement

In addition to confirming the national living and minimum wage levels, Jeremy Hunt's autumn statement also included several other measures related to employment and/or the world of work.  These include reductions to NIC rates for both employed and self-employed and a possible new right for employees to request that their new employer pays pension contributions into an existing pension pot rather than the employee having to sign up to a different scheme run by their new employer.  Funding was also confirmed for the recently announced "Back to Work Plan" that is intended to assist back to work the long term unemployed and those with long term health conditions or disabilities.  Wholesale reform of the fit note process is also to be explored with a consultation taking place in 2024. In addition, an expert group is to be established to advise on a new voluntary occupational health framework in Great Britain that will set out the minimum level of OH intervention needed to improve employee health at work.

Employer guide on supporting new mothers at work

A new employer guide on supporting new mothers in the workplace has been published by the Fawcett Society in conjunction with TotalJobs.  The statistics included in the guide make it very clear why support is needed.  These include that 11% of mothers never return to the role they left, and 19% of those that do quickly consider leaving.  Additionally, 41% of mothers decline promotion because of childcare pressures.  Recommendations for employers include building a clear policy framework, tracking retention, payment and promotion of working mothers, embedding flexible working, training managers to support returning parents and fostering a positive and inclusive culture.

ONS gender pay gap data 2023 remains fairly static

The Office for National Statistics' ("ONS") gender pay gap statistics are a measure across all jobs in the UK and so differs from the statistics compiled under the statutory duty to report the gender pay gap that applies to larger employers.  This year, although the total gender pay gap across the UK has fallen slightly from 14.4% in 2022 to 14.3% in 2023, the gap among full-time employees increased from 7.6% to 7.7%.  There was no change in the gender pay gap for part-time employees.  The figures also show that a significantly higher gender pay gap exists in employees aged 40 or over than those aged under 40 - a significant reason for this is the smaller proportion of women over 40 in full-time higher paid jobs.  The gender pay gap is also larger among higher earners at 14.8% for those earning in the 90th percentile, whereas it is 3.1% for the bottom 10% of earners.

Disability pay gap increases over last decade

New analysis published by the TUC has shown that, although the disability pay gap has fallen since last year, it is still higher than it was a decade ago.  The analysis shows that non-disabled workers earn 14.6% more than disabled workers.  However, when gender is included in the analysis the picture is even worse, with non-disabled men earning on average 30% more than disabled women - this equates to a £6,780 monetary difference each year for full time workers.  Disabled workers are also more likely to be excluded from the job market with a 6.7% unemployment rate compared to 3.3% for non-disabled workers.  When race is added to that analysis this figure also worsens, with 10.4% BME disabled workers facing unemployment compared to 2.6% of white non-disabled workers.

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