Thu 09 Nov 2023

Employment Law Round Up - November 2023

Our monthly employment law round up. 

National Living Wage set to increase to at least £11 per hour in 2024

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has confirmed that the National Living Wage ("NLW") will rise to two-thirds of average earnings in 2024.  Based on the Low Pay Commission's latest forecasts that would see the National Living Wage increase to over £11 an hour with effect from April 2024.  Currently workers aged 23 and over are eligible for the National Living Wage although it has been proposed that this age threshold is lowered to 21 and over in April 2024.  The exact level of the NLW will be announced later in November.

UK Government updates guidance on fit notes

The UK Government has updated its guidance for employers and managers on fit notes.  In addition to an updated guidance document an employer's checklist a guide explaining the sections of the fit note and case studies have also been added. 

Political parties asked to commit to menopause related reforms prior to General Election

World Menopause Day (18 October) saw an all party Parliamentary group publish a "Manifesto for Menopause" and call upon all political parties to commit to reforms ahead of the next General Election.  This coincided with the presentation of new research which found that 96% of menopausal women suffered a reduction in the qualify of their life as a consequence of menopausal symptoms. 64% of the working women surveyed said that they were negatively impacted by menopause but only 29% said that their employers had a menopause policy. 

English local authorities discouraged from adopting a 4 day working week

The UK Government has issued non-statutory guidance to English local authorities discouraging them from adopting 4 day working weeks (while retaining 100% pay).  The guidance states that the UK Government has concerns that adopting such a working pattern will negatively impact on value for money for taxpayers. 

Consultation on draft code of practice on "reasonable steps" under the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act published

A consultation on the draft Code of Practice outlining the minimum steps a trade union should take to comply with the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 (the "Act") closed on 6 October 2023.  The UK Government committed to introducing this Code during the passage of the Act through Parliament, in the face of significant opposition from trade unions.  The Act provides for an employer to issue a work notice to unions setting out who must work during a strike to meet the minimum service requirements.  Unions are required to take "reasonable steps" to ensure members who are identified as required to work do so.  The Code, once finalised, will set out more detail on the reasonable steps unions will be required to take. With the possibility of a Labour Government at some point next year it remains to be seen how far along the road this actually gets.

Certain criminal convictions to become spent after a shorter period of time

New legislation took effect in England and Wales at the end of October that means that certain convictions for less serious crimes will become spent after a shorter period of time.  The legislation which is applicable to offenders who are aged 18 or over, reduces the period of time that custodial sentences require to be disclosed.  Additional rules apply where an offender re-offends during the statutory declaration period, and very serious crimes (serious violent, sexual and terrorism offences) will continue to never be spent

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