Skip to main content

What’s new in Employment Law in 2023

What’s new in Employment Law in 2023

As we begin a new year, we have outlined some of the proposed developments in employment law employers should look out for over the next 12 months.  Whilst some of these changes may ultimately not take effect in 2023, they may come into force in subsequent years, and employers would be wise to have these proposed changes on their radar in any event.

Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill

Last year, the Government introduced the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill into Parliament. Under the Bill, any EU-derived subordinate legislation and retained EU legislation would be revoked at the end of 2023, unless UK ministers make a positive decision to repeal or replace the legislation beforehand.  This could have a potential significant impact on a wide range of employment-related regulation and key employment rights, such as in relation to TUPE, agency workers, and maternity and paternity rights and it is, therefore, a key piece of legislation for employers to watch out for.  However, the Bill has attracted quite a bit of criticism and it is not clear whether it will proceed in its current form.  For more information on the Bill, please see our blog here.

The Employment Bill

The Employment Bill, originally announced in the Queen’s Speech in 2019, has had a lot of coverage over the past few years as it proposes further rights and protections for employees. However, it hasn’t progressed very far since then, with the current position being understood to be that it will be introduced ‘when parliamentary time allows’.  As a reminder, some of the proposals put forward by the Bill were:

  • Extending priority for alternative employment opportunities on redundancy to all pregnant employees and for up to 6 months after return from maternity leave.
  • 12 weeks' paid neonatal leave for parents whose babies spend time in neonatal care units.
  • A week’s unpaid leave for carers. 
  • Tips to go to workers in full.
  • The right for workers with variable hours to request a more stable and predictable contract after 26 weeks' service.
  • A single labour market enforcement agency, with the intention to combine existing bodies, and expand this new body’s remit into the enforcement of statutory sick pay, holiday pay and the regulation of umbrella companies.
  • To make flexible working the default. 

Further information on the Employment Bill is available in our blog here.

Following the delay to the Employment Bill, several separate private members bills which cover much of the same ground as the intended Employment Bill have been introduced and received government backing, such as:

  • Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill, which proposes to extend the right for employees to make flexible working applications – you can read about more about this in our blog here.
  • Carer’s Leave Bill, which proposes to introduce a week’s pay for carers as the Employment Bill does.
  • Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill, which proposes to ensure that tips, gratuities and service charges paid by customers are allocated to workers.

It is unclear whether any of the above proposed changes will actually come into force over the next year; with a recession looming and the continued fallout of Covid-19, the Government could be faced with several other competing challenges.  However, it will be interesting to see how these bills (and the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill)  proceed over the course of the next 12 months.

Strike Action Legislation

On 10 January 2023, the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill was introduced and proposes to require key public services to maintain minimum safety levels during strike action. This has come after the wave of industrial action in the UK, including among nurses, ambulance staff, rail workers and teachers. The Bill covers fire, ambulance, rail, and fire services, as well as the health, education and nuclear decommissioning sectors and could make taking lawful strike action incredibly difficult.  There is expected to be considerable further debate in relation to Bill with the Trade Unions Congress having described it as ‘undemocratic and unworkable’, and calling on members of Parliament to reject it and the Labour Party indicating that it would repeal any such legislation if it were to come into power in the next national election. 

Rates Changes

2023 will see increases to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.  A full-time worker aged 23 or older currently on the National Living Wage will see the biggest ever increase to £10.42 per hour. These increases mean that the Government is on track to meet its commitment to have a National Minimum Wage equal to two-thirds of median earnings (for workers aged 21 and over) by 2024.  Details of the new rates, which take effect from 1 April 2023, can be found here.

The Department for Work and Pensions has also published its proposed usual increases to several statutory benefit payments, such as statutory sick pay, maternity and paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay and parental bereavement pay. The new rates will apply from 3 April 2023 and can be found here.

If you have any concerns or questions about the issues raised, please contact a member of the Employment Team on 03330 430350.

About the author

Amy Jones
Amy Jones

Amy Jones



For more information, contact Amy Jones or any member of the Employment team on +44 1382 346811.