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Employment legislation and the wash up period

June 21, 2024

In parliamentary terms, the ‘wash-up’ period means the last few days of a Parliament before its dissolution. During this time unfinished business is either rushed through in a quicker timeframe or lost at dissolution.  This blog looks at employment legislation that was quickly progressed during the ‘wash-up’ and previously proposed legislation that is now uncertain.

LEGISLATION INTRODUCED BEFORE DISSOLUTION

Fire and Rehire

The new statutory Code of Practice on Dismissal and Re-engagement has been passed and is expected to come into force on 18 July 2024. Employment Tribunals will have the power to increase any award it makes by up to 25% if the employer has unreasonably failed to comply with the Code. The Code will only apply where a dismissal and re-engagement procedure has commenced on or after 18 July 2024.

The Code sets out the process an employer should follow if it is making changes to an employee’s contract of employment.

This is one to watch, depending on the outcome of the election, as Labour may repeal this as part of their promised ban on ‘fire and rehire’.

Allocation of Tips

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 had already received Royal Assent. The legislation requires employers ensure that tips and gratuities are distributed fairly among staff. This is now expected to come into force in October 2024. The wash-up period also saw the approval of the Statutory Code of Practice on Fair and Transparent Distribution of Tips. It is also expected this will come into force on 1st October 2024.

Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Act

This Act provides for additional entitlement to leave for fathers/partners if the mother/primary adopter of the child dies during childbirth or in the first year of the child’s life. It is expected that this will be a day 1 right and give bereaved fathers/partners the right to take up to 52 weeks leave.

It was passed on 24th May 2024 and will come into force in April 2025. Further detail is to be added to this through separate regulations. 

Non-disclosure agreements and criminal disclosures

The Victims and Prisoners Act 2024 has been passed, with Regulations to follow. From an employment law perspective, the provisions clarify that confidentiality agreements (either as standalone NDAs, COT3s or Settlement Agreements) can’t prevent the reporting of sexual harassment or assault to prevent victims obtaining.

PROPOSED LEGISLATION LOST/UNCERTAIN DUE TO DISSOLUTION

Legislation that hasn’t been progressed in the wash-up period includes:

  • The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023
  • Limits on the length of post-termination non-compete clauses
  • The Worker’s (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 and draft Code of Practice
  • Re-introduction of employment tribunal fees
  • Legislation linked to industrial action

Upcoming changes in employment law will now depend on the outcome on 4th July 2024. Our team will be on hand to help you navigate through this. In the meantime, if you have any questions on this or any other area of Employment law, please get in touch with the Blackadders Employment team, working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and across Scotland.

The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.

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