In this blog we will discuss various upcoming changes to employment legislation. To remain legally compliant, it is important that your business stays up to date and prepares accordingly for these changes. If you need any assistance with the below, please reach out to Hallidays HR and we will be happy to help.

Third Party Harassment Bill

Once introduced, the bill will amend the Equality Act and hold employers liable for harassment of employees by third parties, such as a customer or client, only in circumstances where the employer has failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent that harassment.

Third party harassment could be verbal abuse or physical threats of violence. It also covers any forms of racist abuse or sexual harassment in the workplace.

In preparation for the introduction of this bill here are some reasonable steps that you could take:

– Put an equal opportunities policy or anti-harassment and bullying policy in place and regularly review these policies.

– Provide sufficient and regular training to staff and managers to reduce the risk of still being liable due to training being outdated.

If you need any support in tackling this, please contact Hallidays HR and we will be glad to help.

Once we know more, we will let you know!

TUPE Consultation Requirements

Currently, there is a requirement to elect employee representatives for consultation on a TUPE transfer where appropriate representatives are not in place already. Businesses cannot consult employees directly about TUPE transfers. The current consultation is looking at removing the requirement in two different situations:

Where the business has fewer than 50 employees, irrespective of the size of the transfer. This extends the current exception for micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees.

Where the proposed transfer involves fewer than 10 employees, irrespective of the size of the business. This is most likely to apply to small service provision changes such as outsourcing part of a function.

The consultation is still ongoing, but it is important for employers to be aware of the potential changes! If you are currently undertaking a TUPE transfer and require some legal advice, please let us know as Hallidays HR can support you.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy & Family Leave) Bill

Under current rules, employers are obliged to offer employees on maternity, shared parental or adoption leave an available alternative post, as a priority over anyone else who is provisionally selected for redundancy.

The amendment to the bill means protection will apply from the point the employee informs the employer that they are pregnant, whether verbally or in writing, and will end 18 months after the birth. The 18-month window ensures that a mother returning from a year of maternity leave, can receive six months’ additional redundancy protection. It will also apply to adoption leave and shared parental leave.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill provides a welcome opportunity to strengthen protection against pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

As yet, there is no date confirmed of when this change will be effective.

Neonatal Care Act

Paid leave is to be introduced in April 2025 for parents who have a premature or unwell baby that needs to spend a significant amount of time in hospital following their birth. The leave will be in addition to other types of parental leave (maternity, paternity, SPL, adoption leave) allowing parents who find themselves in this situation to spend more time with their baby.

Eligibility

-Parents of babies who are admitted into hospital aged 28 days or less will have the right to Neonatal Leave and Pay if the baby is in hospital for a continuous period of 7 days or more.

-Both parents are each entitled to the leave subject to 26 weeks continuous service.

Leave details

– Maximum amount of leave available is 12 weeks to be taken in one block at the end of maternity/paternity leave.

– Employees will have 68 weeks to take their leave and pay entitlement from the first date of admission to neonatal care, so will be able to take their full entitlement to neonatal leave and pay in addition to other types of parental leave (including maternity, paternity, adoption and parental bereavement leave and pay).

Pay

– Statutory neonatal pay will be subject to 26 weeks’ service and earning above the lower earnings limit (currently £123 per week).

– They will receive £156.66 per week.

Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill

The government has announced its plans to introduce an Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill. The bill will include:

– Making the right to request flexible working a ‘day one’ right, rather than only being permitted after 26 weeks of work.

– Prohibiting employers from rejecting an application without having discussed the flexible working requests and explored other options with employees.

– Enabling employees to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period, rather than just one.

– Shortening the period for employers to respond to flexible working requests from three to two months.

– Removing the requirement for the applicant to explain the potential impact on their employer and suggest ways these effects could be mitigated.

The bill has been passed, so the proposed changes will become law. There is not yet a date for when these changes will come into effect, you should be prepared and expect these rules to apply sooner rather than later.

Reasonable Adjustments

ACAS has recently published new guidance on reasonable adjustments. In particular, making a focus on mental health-related adjustments. The new guidance is designed to assist employers in navigating difficult conversations sensitively and ensure that a broad range of supportive measures are considered.

This is an opportunity to review your current health and well-being offerings and policies, including your sickness policy. As we all know, a supportive employer that shows they care about their employees will ultimately see a more productive, engaged, and loyal workforce.

If you need any assistance with implementing reasonable adjustments in the workplace, contact us at Hallidays HR and we can help!

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If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 476 8276 or email hr@hallidayshr.co.uk.