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Employment Law – Update: Autumn 2023

Posted on 3rd November, 2023

Employment law is challenging with a very real human interface and one of those areas of law where a good solicitor can make a real difference regardless of whether representing for the employer or employee.

Part of that difference is that our expert Employment lawyers ensure they are always abreast of any updates and help our clients to understand what these changes mean to them.

 

Rehabilitation of Offenders Timelines

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (legislation.gov.uk)) came into force on 28 October 2023.

It shortens the time after which criminal convictions become spent, reducing the period during which an individual is legally required to declare their conviction to their employers, who will need to update their systems to account for this.

The changes do not affect roles where basic or enhanced DBS checks are required.

The changes for individuals over 18 at the time of conviction are as follows:

The time periods are extended if re-offending occurs during the initial period.

Any new conviction attracts its own disclosure period and both the previous conviction and new conviction need to be declared until the latter of the original conviction’s disclosure period or, the end of the new conviction’s disclosure period.

The period of disclosure is slightly lower where the individual was under 18 at the time of conviction.

 

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 (Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 (legislation.gov.uk)) received royal assent on 26 October 2023 and is due to come into force in October 2024.

The Act will mean all employers will be under a statutory duty to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of employees in the course of their employment.

If employers fail to take reasonable steps to prevent the sexual harassment of an employee and the employee is successful in their claim, then the tribunal will be able to uplift any successful compensation claim by up to 25%.

Employers could be seen as taking reasonable steps by having up to date policies in place for employees along with any necessary training.

If any employers do require some training or relevant policies to be drawn up or a review of their current policies, please get in touch and our employment team will be happy to assist.

 

ACAS Commence Public Consultation on new employment rights

A new Act known as the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is due to come into force in September 2024 (Millions get more power over working hours thanks to new law – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)). It gives workers (including agency workers) the right to request a more predictable working pattern.

Requests must be made in writing and may be refused on specified grounds. There are currently six listed in the Act namely;

  • the burden of additional costs,
  • detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand,
  • detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff,
  • detrimental impact on other aspects of the employer’s business,
  • insufficiency of work during the periods the worker proposes to work,
  • or planned structural changes.

More reasons may be added by the Secretary of State by further regulations.

ACAS, as of 25 October 2023, has commenced a consultation on a draft Code of Practice on handling requests under the Act.

They seek input on how the different procedures for workers and employees on the one hand and agency workers on the other, should best be reflected in the Code of Practice.

As would be expected, the draft Code sets out further good practice including:

  • allowing applicants to be accompanied at meetings to discuss a request.
  • that employers should give reasonable additional information which will help explain their decision; and
  • that employers should grant an appeal when a request is rejected

The Code will not be legally binding, but courts and employment tribunals will take it into account when deciding claims, which means best advice will be to follow the Code.

Consultation closes on 17 January 2024. If you would like to respond to it this is the link: Acas consultation on the draft Code of Practice on handling requests for a predictable working pattern

 

As you can see from the above, Employment Law is very complex and, with extensive experience in representing employers and employees, we can meet all your employment and HR needs.

Get in touch If you have any Employment Law concerns or queries, be it as an employer or employee, please contact our Head of Employment, Deborah Henning, dhenning@jacksons-law.com or by calling 0191 933 6409.


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