In addition to the legislation discussed in last week’s employment bulletin, which covered amendments to TUPE and the Working Time Regulations (which can be found here: Amendments to TUPE and the Working Time Regulations – EMW Law), the government will also be introducing a number of other legislation updates.
Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill
This has received Royal Assent and will amend the Equality Act 2010 to:
- Introduce a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees.
- Give employment tribunals the power to uplift sexual harassment compensation by up to 25% where an employer is found to have breached the new duty to prevent sexual harassment.
These updates are due to come in to force in October 2024. They are not the only amendments to the Equality Act 2010 taking effect this year – our article from November (Amendments to the Equality Act 2010 – EMW Law) details further amendments, which took effect on 1 January 2024. The amends discussed in this article have the effect of enshrining key EU principles that were set to fall away at the end of 2023.
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023
This has received Royal Assent and brings two significant developments to business crime in the UK:
- The introduction of a failure to prevent fraud (FTP) offence, which will impose criminal liability on a large organisation that fails to prevent fraud that is intended to benefit the organisation, with a defence of having adequate procedures in place to prevent fraud.
- A change to corporate criminal liability by expanding the class of persons whose conduct can be attributed to the company. An organisation will be guilty of an offence where a “senior manager … acting within the actual or apparent scope of their authority commits a relevant offence”.
There is no current date set for the changes to come into force. The FTP offence will require the publication of guidance on the adequate procedures defence, and the corporate liability changes are likely to come into force first.
The Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
These regulations provide the following additional redundancy protections (the period of protection after returning to work from relevant leave will be known as the “additional protected period”):
- For pregnancy, protection will start when an employee tells their employer about their pregnancy. If the employee is entitled to statutory maternity leave, the protected period of pregnancy will end on the day the statutory maternity leave starts. If the pregnancy ends and they are not entitled to statutory maternity leave, the protected period ends two weeks after the end of pregnancy.
- For maternity leave, the additional protected period will end 18 months after the expected week of childbirth, unless the employee has informed the employer of the date of their child’s birth, in which case the additional protected period will end 18 months after that date.
- For adoption leave. the additional protected period ends 18 months after the child’s placement or the date they enter Great Britain (in the case of overseas adoptions).
- For shared parental leave, those taking six or more consecutive weeks of shared parental leave but who have not taken maternity or adoption leave, the additional protected period ends 18 months after the date of the child’s birth or placement (or date they enter Great Britain).
Where the protected period covers pregnancy, the new rules would apply where the employee notifies their employer of their pregnancy on or after 6 April 2024. Where it relates to a period after relevant leave, the new rules would apply to maternity and adoption leave ending on or after 6 April 2024 and to a period of six consecutive weeks’ shared parental leave starting on or after 6 April 2024. These are currently draft regulations and are subject to change.
The Employment team at EMW are on hand to assist with any queries relating to any of these topics.
This article was written with the assistance of Jasper Blacklock.