What's New for 2023

Published: January 11, 2023

There are a number of Bills proposed to come into force in 2023 which, if enacted in their currently proposed format, would have a significant impact on employment law. These include:

  • The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022-23

Currently at the committee stage in the House of Lords, this Bill seeks to ‘sunset’ all retained EU law by the end of 2023, unless restated or replaced into UK domestic law.

  • The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill 2022-23

Employees who are taking part in official strike action cannot under current laws be forced to work. The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill would grant the government power to make regulations to set ‘minimum service levels’ during a strike in several public service areas including health, transport, education, fire and rescue, border control, nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management services. The specific minimum service levels for each service sector have not been specified in the bill.

  • Bill of Rights Bill

The Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA”) incorporates the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) into UK law. One of the key provisions in the HRA is that domestic legislation must be interpreted in a way that is consistent with the ECHR. The Bill of Rights Bill proposes to repeal the HRA and replace it with new domestic human rights legislation. Some of the key provisions of the Bill are the imposition of a higher threshold for those alleging breaches of their rights under the ECHR to be able to proceed with such claims, and the removal of the duty on courts to adopt interpretation of legislation in a manner that is consistent with the ECHR. This would have potentially significant consequences for UK law, including employment law, in particular in areas such as discrimination and whistleblowing.

  • Private members’ bills

The government announced support for a number of private members’ bills at the end of 2022, introducing several employment law reforms which had originally been due to be included in an all-encompassing Employment Bill. These are expected to become law in summer 2023 and include:

  • Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill which seeks to provide for the distribution of tips and introduces a new statutory code of practice in relation thereto;
  • Carer’s Leave Bill which seeks to introduce the flexible entitlement of a week’s unpaid leave each year for employees who are carers;
  • Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill to introduce a variety of obligations on employers, such as consulting with employees before rejecting their flexible working request and to allow employees to make two statutory requests in any 12 month period;
  • Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill to extend the period where employees on maternity leave who are in a redundancy situation must be offered suitable vacancies. This period would also be extended for those on adoption leave or shared parental leave;
  • Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill to place a liability on employers for the harassment by third parties of their employees and impose a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees; and
  • Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill to introduce a right for parents to neonatal leave and pay for 12 weeks if their child received, or is receiving, neonatal care.