15 March 2023
Law at Work - March 2023 – 3 of 3 Insights
The Government has decided not to follow the recommendations made by the Women and Equalities Committee in its report Menopause in the Workplace. In deciding against making menopause a protected characteristic, the Government has favoured a light-touch approach on the issue. It has, however, appointed a Menopause Champion, Helen Tomlinson, who will work with employers on raising awareness through a communications campaign. Rightly or wrongly, the Government considered that many workplaces already have menopause policies to help support women at this stage of their lives. By contrast, Labour has indicated that it would adopt more concrete measures to support women through the menopause, including introducing a requirement for large companies to submit plans to show what support and measures they have in place.
Autonomy, which organised the trial has recently published a report on the results of the trial of 61 companies involving about 2,900 workers which took place in the UK between June to December 2022. There was no requirement to implement a particular type of working time reduction or four-day week so long as pay remained at 100% and employees had a "meaningful" reduction in work time. Some companies had Fridays off, others had staggered or other models of time off. 92% (or 56) of companies are continuing with the four-day week and 18 have confirmed this as a permanent change. Some of the most extensive benefits of shorter working hours were found in employees’ well-being. Data from before and after the trial showed that 39% of employees were less stressed and 71% had reduced levels of burnout at the end of the trial. Anxiety levels, fatigue and sleep issues decreased, while mental and physical health both improved, as did measures of work-life balance. 60% found an increased ability to combine paid work with care responsibilities and 62% reported it easier to combine work with social life. From the companies' perspective, their revenue remained broadly the same over the trial period and the number of staff leaving dropped by 57%.
Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £109.40 from 2 April 2023.
Statutory Maternity Pay will increase to £172.48 from 2 April 2023.
National Minimum wage rates will also increase as set out below from 1 April 2023:
23 years and over rate: £10.42.
21 to 22 years: £10.18.
18-20 years: £7.40.
16 to 17 years: £5.28.
Apprentice rate £5.28.
A private member's bill introduced to the House of Commons on 27 February 2023 is another attempt to facilitate certain changes to auto enrolment which were recommended following the 2017 review of the regime. These would potentially widen the class of workers who have to be auto enrolled and also increase the amount of minimum auto enrolment contributions that have to be paid in certain circumstances. So, in particular, the main aims of the bill are to introduce regulation making powers
to reduce the lower age threshold for auto-enrolment from 22 to 18
to reduce or repeal the amount of the lower limit of the qualifying earnings band so that contributions are calculated from the first pound earned.
The Government has confirmed its backing for the bill which is likely to mean it will have a relatively smooth passage through Parliament. We will be monitoring its progress and will provide updates when it looks like any changes may become effective.
A second bill introduced to Parliament in the last week, has proposed that employees should have the right to choose which pension arrangement their pension contributions get paid into. The idea would be that the employee could keep the same pension arrangement rather than starting a new one every time they start a new job, potentially avoiding employees building up lots of pension pots that are difficult to keep track of. The bill has only just been introduced into the House of Commons under the ten minute rule and we will monitor progress on this for any changes that may emerge as a result.
The last few months has seen a big spike in the number of job cuts - or layoffs – especially in the global tech sector. Redundancies are always incredibly difficult for everyone involved, especially the affected employees. But it's easy to miss that there are extra considerations for employees that are in the UK on sponsored work visas. What does departure (for any reason) mean for the sponsored worker, what steps must sponsoring employers take, and what can employers do to help affected employees? Click here for further information.
Do join us for our upcoming webinars:
2 March 2023
15 March 2023
15 March 2023
by Multiple authors