Rises to wage and statutory rates 2023/2024
From 1 April 2023:
- National Living Wage: £10.42 per hour (from £9.50) aged 23 and over
- National Minimum Wage rates:
- £10.18 per hour (from £9.18) for those aged 21 – 22
- £7.49 per hour (from £6.83) for those aged 18 – 20
- £5.28 per hour (from £4.81) for those aged 16 - 17 and apprentices aged 19 and under or in their first year.
Statutory benefit payments will increase as follows from 3 April 2023:
- Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, and parental bereavement pay will increase to £172.48 (from £156.66) per week (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower).The gross weekly earnings threshold remains at £123.
- Maternity allowance increases to £172.48 (from £156.66) per week (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower). The gross weekly earnings threshold remains at £30.
- Standard statutory sick pay rises to £109.40 (from £99.35). The gross weekly earnings threshold remains at £123.
Holiday pay: Government consultation
In the light of the Supreme Court ruling in Harpur Trust v Brazel that part-year workers (in addition to full time workers) are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday, regardless of the number of hours worked, the government is seeking feedback from employers and other interested parties on a proposal that part-year workers and workers with irregular hours receive holiday entitlement which reflects the hours that they have worked. Clearly the intention is to try and restore proportionality between hours worked and statutory holiday pay. For more detail on what the consultation means for employers, please read our article here. To access the consultation (which runs until 9 March 2023), click here.
Retained EU Law Bill
Despite opposition by MPs on both sides of the House the Retained EU Law Bill has been approved by the House of Commons. It now starts its progress through the House of Lords where it is expected to continue to face considerable opposition. If enacted, all EU derived legislation not actively kept or replaced will automatically be revoked on 31 December 2023. There is limited scope for Ministers to disapply specific legislation from revocation but only until 23 June 2026 (being 10 years from the Brexit referendum). It is difficult to calculate precisely how many laws are affected but the Government currently maintains a catalogue of over 2,400 pieces of retained EU law which could escape scrutiny and be deleted from the statute books. As employment law is one of the areas to be significantly affected, we will continue to watch its progress carefully.
Coronation Bank Holiday: 8 May 2023
To celebrate the coronation of King Charles III, an additional Bank Holiday in May has been announced. This means that there will be three bank holidays in May: 1st, 8th, and 29th May.
As we noted last year in relation to the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday, employers are not required to grant an extra day’s paid leave unless an employee’s contract of employment specifically states that they are entitled to paid bank holidays in addition to their paid leave allocation. However, reputationally, and with a view to maintaining staff morale, it would be in an employers’ interest to demonstrate some generosity on the issue.
Focus on: Redundancy
In place of our usual case update, we have chosen to concentrate on a topic that is currently dominating our employment lawyers’ inboxes: redundancy and how to get it right. In addition to our guide on how to conduct a redundancy consultation, here is a brief reminder of what employers need to know:
- The redundancy process is emotive and stressful, and not just for the employee facing the possibility of unemployment. The HR team will also be under enormous pressure implementing the process and conducting consultations.
- A fair procedure is key to a fair dismissal. Before starting a redundancy process, it is critical to decide if a role is standalone or if employees should be pooled and scored using primarily objective criteria.
- If a collective consultation applies (if 20 or more employees are involved), follow the process and don't try to shorten the timetable.
- Discrimination is prohibited: consider if you do have a legitimate business reason to make a role redundant before starting any redundancy process. Particular care is needed if your employee is pregnant or on maternity leave or, for example, is on long term sickness leave.
- Every employee at risk of redundancy is entitled to receive a list of vacancies in your business. Consider if you can offer an employee at risk of redundancy suitable alternative roles.
- Consultation must be meaningful: both employer and employee should consider if there are any options to avoid redundancy.
- Calculate statutory redundancy pay, notice pay, and accrued but unused holiday pay correctly. Ensure you review the employee's contract and double check whether your business has a policy of paying enhanced redundancy pay.
- Ensure a note taker is at present at consultation meetings.
- Remember you can offer a Settlement Agreement if you want to avoid the risk of a claim.
- Finally - even if an employer has followed a fair procedures, an employee can still feel the dismissal was unfair. If you receive am ET1 Claim Form - seek advice ASAP.