Government Consultation on Retained EU Employment Law Reforms
In a busy week for the Government, as well as abandoning the sunset clause which would have seen thousands of pieces of EU derived legislation expire on 31 December 2023, it has now launched a consultation on,
- the record-keeping requirements under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR)
- the calculation of annual leave and holiday pay under the WTR, and
- the consultation requirements under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE).
In respect of the WTR, the consultation proposes to scrap the record-keeping requirements so that businesses do not have to keep a record of daily working hours of their workers. It also proposes to merge the current ‘basic’ (4 weeks) and ‘additional’ (1.6 weeks) annual leave entitlements to create a single annual leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks governed by one set of rules, thus (apparently) removing the administrative burden and complications arising from administering payroll systems that distinguish between the two distinct amounts of annual leave entitlement with different rules. I’d venture to suggest that most businesses have simply worked on the basis of a single entitlement of 5.6 weeks for many years so query how much of a reform this will actually produce.
The consultation also proposes to introduce rolled-up holiday pay, so that workers can receive an additional amount or enhancement with every payslip to cover their holiday pay, as opposed to receiving holiday pay only when they take annual leave. Although ruled unlawful by the ECJ years ago, many businesses have continued to operate this in one form or another.
In respect of TUPE, the Government proposes that all small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees) will be permitted to consult directly with employees if there are no existing employee representatives in place, rather than having to arrange elections for new employee representatives. It also proposes that businesses of any size will be permitted to consult directly with employees (where no existing employee representatives are in place) where a transfer of only a small number of employees (fewer than ten) is proposed. A better proposal would have been to do away with the need for election of employee representatives altogether where no measure are envisaged as part of the transfer – perhaps a missed opportunity.
Employment legislation tends to come into effect on 1 April and 1 October so, subject to consultation, we may see the above in force from 1 October.
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Please get in touch with Jon Taylor if you need any advice or assistance on post termination restrictions or any other employment related matter.