Employment Law in the news – May
Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill Update
The government has recently announced an amendment to the upcoming Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill. The original Bill was set to have a ‘sunset clause’ which meant that at the end of 2023, unless legislation had been put in place to retain it, retained EU law would be automatically revoked.
A recent publication from the government has expressed a reversed approach to the Bill and removed the sunset clause. The new approach will mean that all EU law will remain in force in the UK unless it is expressly repealed. The Bill now contains a list of retained EU laws which the government plans to revoke on 31 December 2023. There are only three laws specific to employment law on the list:
- The Community Drivers’ Hours and Working Time (Road Tankers) (Temporary Exception) (Amendment) Regulations 2006
- The Posted Workers (Enforcement of Employment Rights) Regulations 2016
- The Posted Workers (Agency Workers) Regulations 2020
This is a big deviation from the government’s previous stance and at present has a minimal effect on employment law. The situation is ever-developing, however, the Legal & HR team will keep members up-to-date as things progress.
Brexit changes to employment law upcoming
The UK government has announced changes to employment law following the UK’s departure from the European Union. This includes making changes to legislation which derives from EU directives such as the Working Time regulations and the TUPE regulations. A summary of the anticipated changes are:
Working Time Regulations
- Currently, holiday entitlement is split into ‘normal’ holiday leave of 4 weeks and ‘additional’ holiday leave of 1.6 weeks. It is the government’s intention to merge both types of leave, meaning there will be one single entitlement of 5.6 weeks. Although at this time we do not fully know how this will operate in practice, it could have wider implications on how we calculate holiday pay and what is included in that calculation e.g. overtime.
- ‘Rolled up’ holiday pay is unlawful under the EU directive, however, the UK government plans to allow this. This means holiday pay is included in hourly pay and is not necessarily received as a separate payment when holiday is taken.
- Removing the requirement for employer’s to ‘record-keep’ working time.
- The need to consult with the appointed representatives will be scrapped when there are fewer than 50 employees and fewer than 10 transferring. There is already a micro-business exemption which means businesses with under 10 employees don’t need to consult. However, this will extend that exemption to businesses with 10-49 employees where 9 or fewer are transferring.
If you wish to express your views on the proposed changes above, the government have now opened a consultation seeking views.
Proposals affecting restrictive covenants
Plans have been announced to bring in new legislation which will cap the duration of non-compete restrictive covenants to 3 months. This will impact restrictive covenants employers may put on individuals post-employment to restrict them from working for businesses of a similar nature they are in competition with. A summary of the proposal is below:
- The 3 month restriction will apply only to non-compete clauses. For non-solicitation clauses (i.e. preventing ex employee’s from taking customers or employees) the time limit will still be subject to the ‘no more than is reasonably necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests’ test.
- The changes will not impact an employer’s ability to restrict an employee whilst on notice or garden leave
- There was no information provided about non-dealing clauses
No time has been set for when this change can be expected. The government has said legislation will come “when parliamentary time allows”.
As always, the Legal & HR Team at Scot Eng will keep you updated with any further information released by the government over the coming weeks/ months.