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UK HR & employment law update from myHRdept, June ’24

UK HR and employment law update for employers June 2024

Welcome to our latest HR newsletter, and as has become customary, it’s also available in video form -click on the icon above.

It seems like only yesterday we were breaking up for Christmas, but here we are already approaching the 6th month of the year, and it won’t be long before we’re closer to next Christmas than the last one!

Developments at myHRdept

The start to 2024 has seen a welcome period of stability for the myHRdept team. We have pared -back our L&D offering to focus on delivering training derived from our core strengths, and our recruitment services have returned to the headhunting style that’s worked so well for clients in the past, bolstered by the welcome return of our original recruiter Nida Atif.

Our own Gina Regan has long harboured a secret fetish for health and safety, and we were happy to support her in gaining full NEBOSH accreditation, now adding health and safety to our client offering, delivered in a practical and pragmatic way, our typical myHRdept style.

We’ve been pleased to welcome Amritha Peiris Robeson (Am) who has proved a great addition to our HR administrative capability, with our client’s desire for HR admin support at an unprecedented high.

Given that context, it’s fitting then that Emma Dozier, who recently passed her 5th anniversary with myHRdept, has been appointed to the new role of Senior HR Administrator with responsibilities for developing our HR administrative capability. Emma has a wealth of HR experience and her encyclopaedic knowledge of HR systems and processes combined with her calm and good-humoured approach is appreciated by our team and clients alike.

Catherine and I are so very proud of the team at myHRdept, led as ever by the tireless and effervescently positive Jessica Whelan. Our team helps clients get things done, and have the skills, experience and know-how to fix, change and perfect people issues & processes. Our team strive to provide quality support and solutions across the whole range of HR, and though we say so ourselves, we’re extraordinarily good at it.

Sadly, too many UK employers have ‘HR’ support provided by organisations with plenty of marketing budget, but all too often inexperienced call centres distributing standard templates, pointless insurance policies and very little else. How many employers thought these might help them solve their problems, only to find themselves gaining another one, and stuck with them for 5 years to boot?

Review of recent changes to employment law

April was the month most statutory updates of employment law are brought into effect, & just in case you missed our earlier updates, you can either visit our news pages, or follow these links:

National Minimum wage changes: https://www.myhrdept.co.uk/latest_news/national-minimum-wage-rates-2024-uk/

On the subject of minimum wages, we also noted eligibility for the top rate, the National Living Wage has dropped from 25 a few years ago to 21, with further drops likely. This means that today’s 21 year old paid the minimum wage is 37% better off than an equivalent worker just 2 years ago. If you want to read more about this particular topic, see https://www.myhrdept.co.uk/latest_news/national-living-wage-uk-age-eligibility-decreasing/   

If you want to have all of the rates, measures, facts and figures at your fingertips, we have a comprehensive fact card, digital, and accessed from the home page f our website, or via this link: https://www.myhrdept.co.uk/news/handy-fact-cards-2024-2025/

Returning to April’s developments, rolled up holiday pay used to be unlawful, but not anymore – from April employers have the option to roll holiday pay into wages for irregular hours workers and part-year workers, and what’s more they can now safely use 12.07% as the multiplier if they allow only the statutory minimum holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year including bank holidays. This will necessitate some changes to contracts and policies, so if you’re planning to use rolled up holiday pay, please contact us here at myHRdept so we can make the various amendments and write your comms for you.

Carers leave also arrived in April, a new statutory right to a week per year, unpaid, to care for a dependent, we’ve been updating policies for clients, again if you’re not sure about anything, do get in touch.

Women on maternity leave have been entitled to special protection from redundancy, and have to be given first dibbs on available employment if their own role is to become redundant, even if the employer feels they have more suitable, and usually available, candidates. That special period of protection was extended from April to include the whole of the period of pregnancy, and 6 months following return from maternity leave.

And employees now have the right to request flexible working from day 1 of employment. At myHRdept we’ve already seen cases where employees have applied for and been offered full time employment, only to immediately submit a request for flexible working on the day they start. With a new Labour government planning on making the right to bring an unfair dismissal claim from day 1 of employment, employers would be wise to carefully and properly consider the request before rejecting it.

And I’ve noticed that finally the press have cottoned on to what an incoming Labour government will do for employment law in the UK, and if you’re an employer you’ll be understandably concerned – I’ve covered this in the last couple of updates, so I’m not going to say too much more about it, but you can read more if you want to here: https://www.myhrdept.co.uk/latest_news/uk-employment-law/

Later in the year

Later in the year we’ll have some amendments to TUPE, which will only impact you if you’re planning on changing service providers, or you’re a service provider winning contract from another service provider, or if you’re insourcing or outsourcing particular work, or if you acquiring a business with employees attached to it, or indeed if you’re selling one. Changes to TUPE are around consultation and basically allow direct consultation with employees in the case of small transfers and for smaller employers. We were expecting these changes in July, these now may be delayed owing to the election.

Also later in the year, and of interest to myHRdept’s licensed retail clients, the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 aims to ensure that 100% of tips are distributed fairly and transparently among workers, the draft statutory code of practice is already available. 

Later again in 2024 we’re expecting a new right for employees with unpredictable terms and conditions (many zero hours workers would be included here) to apply for greater predictability of, in particular, working hours.  

October 24 – new duty on employers to prevent Sexual Harassment, Duty to Prevent 

A big change and a new obligation from October is the new duty to prevent sexual harassment at work.

We’ve featured numerous articles concerning sexual harassment, this new duty will require employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace,  and should they fail to do so, any tribunal award may be uplifted by 25%. 

Last year we released training and communication materials to enable myHRdept & JCHR clients to quickly and easily help raise awareness of sexual harassment – our videos and resources have been accessed thousands of times, and will remain free for our clients to use – and we’ll continue updating these in time for the new legislation. 

Interesting cases

I’m going to review 2 interesting employment tribunal cases before wrapping up this briefing.

https://www.myhrdept.co.uk/latest_news/redundancy-consultation/

The first is a stark reminder that no employer, regardless of size or sector, can ignore collective consultation rules.

Mrs Fennessey, who owned a popular Glasow music venue, did ignore the rules – the Scottish employment tribunal awarded her employees a compensation payment of 90 day pay each. Worse still, Mrs Fennessey’s failure to follow collective consultation rules were spread over the national press, and the coverage certainly won’t have done her reputation any good.

Collective consultation requires a mechanical process, starting with notifying the government. It’s a multi-stage process, actually quite easy when you know how, but it can seem daunting to employers carrying it out for the first time. At myHRdept we carry out lots of collective consultations for our clients, and whilst it’s very time consuming, which is  why we generally don’t include it in our standard services, it is easy to get right with our support, providing we have enough time to prepare.

A typical collective consultation might cost less than £20K to completely outsource, and this feels like a good use of resources when the alternative could be (collectively) 3 months pay per employee – 5 years worth of pay if 20 employees are involved. On top of that, reputational damage could be a lot worse.

By stark contrast our second case involves also involves a lack of process, but  this time the tribunal didn’t find fault with the employer.

https://www.myhrdept.co.uk/latest_news/dismissal-without-process-can-be-fair/

Here an employee, a Mr Matthews was dismissed following a breakdown in the relationship between him and his managers evidenced by his grievances, sickness and, reportedly, some pretty belligerent behaviour on his part. A senior manager carefully considered whether the relationship could be repaired, and concluded that it couldn’t, but Mr Matthews was not involved in this decision, nor consulted before it was taken and he was dismissed.

An employment tribunal agreed with the employer that any attempt to reconcile the situation would have been futile, and irrespective of the procedure followed (in the event, none to speak of) Mr Matthews would inevitably have been dismissed.

Cases like Matthews vs CGI IT UK Ltd keep employment law interesting, and remind us that while fair processes are usually essential, every case needs to be considered on its facts.

HR, payroll and H&S support from myHRdept

We hope this update was useful. JCHR provide HR, payroll, employment law and health and safety services, our HR team also recruit for HR and other vacancies.

Whilst we are a prominent provider of outsourced HR and payroll, we provide both services separately and our HR team  support in-house HR teams, most usually by helping with their employee relations cases and with their employment law needs 

For a no obligation assessment of how partial or full outsourcing could help your organisation, or to discuss any of other services, please contact us & we’ll be happy to arrange a Teams meeting, or attend in person if you prefer.

Thank you for taking the time to read our latest HR and employment law update for employers.

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR, payroll or health and safety needs, why not contact myHRdept? Call us on 01628 820515, email us at enquiries@myhrdept.co.uk to discuss your requirements, or contact us via our website and we’ll call you back.

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