What employment measures were saved during pre-election wash up?

In our last post about the impact of the general election, we explained that there would be a last-minute rush to tidy up legislative lose ends before Parliament was dissolved. We can now report on what has happened on the employment law front.

Fire and re-hire Code of Practice

An order has been made bringing the Code of Practice into effect on 18 July. The new Code will not apply where the prospect of dismissal and re-engagement has been raised by the employer before this date.

The Government had planned to make an additional order, giving employment tribunals power to uplift compensation for failure to comply with collective consultation legislation, where the employer has been in breach of the Code. However, the necessary order was not made before Parliament dissolved. That means that the range of jurisdictions in which a breach of the Code can be penalised will not be extended as originally planned.

The Labour Party has been very critical of these measures. It has recently committed to replacing the Code with a “strengthened code of practice”. In theory Labour would have power to junk the Code immediately, should it form the next Government. But it seems more likely that it will be left in place while it works on new measures to replace it.

Allocation of Tips

The new Code of Practice has now been approved by both Houses of Parliament, but we still need an order to bring it onto effect.

The Government had planned to bring the Code and the remaining provisions of the Allocation of Tips Act 2023 into effect on 1 October. The measures had Labour support, so it is possible that an incoming Labour Government would stick to this timetable.

Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Act

The Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Bill received Royal Assent on 24 May 2024, becoming the Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Act 2024.

The Act closes a gap in paternity rights to allow bereaved fathers/partners to take leave on the death of a child’s mother.

A commencement order and regulations are required before the Act comes into effect. The Act had cross-party support, so it is likely that these measures will be brought into effect, whether or not there is a change of Government after the general election.

What else is in the pipeline?

There is still a fair amount of employment legislation which was enacted with cross-party support well before the election, but which still needs to be brought into effect. This includes:

  • The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 which would give workers (including agency workers) the right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work; and
  • The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 which would create a new right for parents of premature babies to additional paid leave if their baby is in neonatal care.

The implementation timetable for these measures will be up to the incoming Government. If it is a Labour one, the timing is likely to depend on its other legislative priorities, about which we will know more when the Labour election manifesto is published next week.

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