Employment Law Update - March 2023
This Employment Law Update will cover the upcoming statutory changes to payments, important considerations for employers with employees who are observing Ramadan and announcements made in the Spring Budget 2023. If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this email, please get in touch. Statutory Changes As a reminder, we will see increases to national minimum and living wage from 1st April, family-friendly statutory payments from 2nd April and statutory sick pay from 6th April.
Rate from 1st April 2023
National Living Wage
21-22 Year Old Rate
18-20 Year Old Rate
16-17 Year Old Rate
SSP is increasing from £99.35 to £109.40 per week. SMP, and other payments which include paternity (SPP), adoption (SAP), parental bereavement (SPBP), and shared parental (ShPP), will also be increasing. This will rise from £156.66 to £172.48 per week. The earnings threshold to be entitled to SSP, SMP and other payments will remain at £123 per week. If you currently have employees off sick or on maternity leave etc. you must remember to factor in the increases for impacted employees if their absence continues past the change date, and for those who take leave following the change. Ramadan Wednesday 22nd March marked the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. It is important for employers to understand what this might involve for Muslim employees observing Ramadan, including what challenges they could face in the workplace as a result, and to take steps to ensure employees are supported at work during this time. Here we provide four key tips for employers to bear in mind during Ramadan:
Communicate and demonstrate awareness – employers should discuss with employees who are observing Ramadan what, if any, support they might need whilst working during this period. Muslim employees may have a variety of approaches to observing (or not observing) Ramadan, so flexibility is key. Consider what support could be put in place for example, holding meetings at suitable times of the day, avoiding or making it optional to attend social events and raising awareness of Ramadan in the workplace.
Support flexible working – where possible employers should try to adopt a practical approach, including being receptive to requests for temporary flexibility in respect of working patterns.
Identify and offer prayer space – if employers do not already have a dedicated and advertised multi-faith area for prayer, contemplation and meditation, they should discuss what facilities an employee may need and identify space which can be used temporarily at certain times of the day without interruption.
Be flexible with annual leave requests – employers may receive an increase in the number of annual leave requests from employees, both during Ramadan and particularly towards the end as employees look to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. Employers should deal with these requests in a fair and flexible manner in line with their holiday policy, bearing in mind the significance of the festival for Muslims.
Spring Budget 2023 The budget set out three main items related to employment.
A new apprenticeship scheme called “Returnerships” will be introduced to encourage over 50s to return to work or retrain. These skills programmes will be shorter in length, more flexible and take into account past experiences. Full details on the scheme are still to be released. The Government will extend the current childcare support it provides to working parents, to be introduced in stages. This is expected to increase the number of working parents re-entering work after having a child, or allow them to increase their working hours. Employers can expect a wider talent pool when recruiting to fill vacancies, and it is also possible this measure will have an effect on the number of flexible working requests made. The Government plans to support those with long-term health conditions to find, return to, and stay in work through a new voluntary employment scheme called Universal Support. It is likely there will be a greater emphasis on employers implementing reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process and during employment and ensuring their equality policies and practices are relevant and up to date.
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