Relationships are complex, especially regarding the employer/employee dynamic. First impressions, words spoken, actions taken, and tone used - every interaction shapes behaviours and norms - sometimes contentiously. For this reason, people professionals scrutinise workplace behaviours and practices.
Every conceivable, all too human, behaviour plays out when people come together in the workplace. Under the same roof, misuse of power, egoism, nepotism, unfairness, and exclusion have an equal probability of occurrence as empowerment, compassion, trust, and cooperation.
Employment Law is vital to the effort of delegitimising poor behaviours and practices. It does this by bringing clarity and authority to frequently seen organisational processes. As legislation evolves, other benefits arise that help the individual and society.
Some updated implementations discussed in 2022 are as follows.
- Flexible working ~ a day-one right of employment
- Ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting ~ the first step to standardisation
- Data protection ~ updated employment practice guidance
- Sexual harassment ~ prevention a duty of employers
- Right-to-work checks ~ digitalisation made permanent
- Redundancy ~ prevention of pregnancy and maternity discrimination
- Strike Action ~ minimum levels of service during transport strikes
- NDAs ~ prohibit the prevention of reporting a crime
We will now explore what I feel are the most significant Employment Law updates in force today. It is a practical, informative collection of laws, rights, and legal considerations.
- Employers are legally responsible for ensuring the business environment is safe, including risk assessments and staff training. They created the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
- A comprehensive act updating older labour laws. Covers all employment rights, notably contracts, unfair dismissal, parental leave and redundancy.
- It mandated every employer to pay minimum wage. Value relates to age and increases each year. Allows exceptions (i.e. apprentices). Includes National Living Wage later.
- Mandates limit the work to an average of 48 hours (opt-out exists). Appointments are working days to average eight hours. It gives the right to paid leave and rest breaks.
- Notably, it recognised trade union bodies, employee rights to be accompanied in a disciplinary hearing, maternity leave, and time off for dependents.
- Outlines new parents' rights when taking time off to look after the baby. Employees with children under 18 have the right to 18 weeks unpaid yearly for family needs.
- Mandates part-time employees receive equal, comparable treatment for full-time employees. An example would be pro rata holidays and access to vacancies.
- Otherwise known as TUPE. Protects employee rights during a commercial transfer (i.e., acquiring one company by another). Relates to job security.
- Prevents discrimination in the workplace and recruitment processes. Identifies protected characteristics that cannot be used in decision-making. Inclusive of Gender Pay Gap.
- Criminalises the act of giving a financial or other advantage to encourage improper functions or activities. Includes bribery given after the fact.
- Prevents discrimination against agency workers. Equal treatment in pay and working time when compared to full-time counterparts who do the same or similar work.
- Revision of 1998 Act of the same name. It implements the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Regulates how employee and customer information is stored.
- Wide-ranging legislation conferred emergency power to various policy areas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Temporary provisions expired on 25 March 2022.
- Amends and joins Social Security and Statutory Sick Pay Regulations. Allows a broader range of healthcare professionals to certify fitness to work notes.