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What new policies will businesses need to comply with next employment law changes?

As new employment law rights loom on the horizon for the end of summer 2024, employers must gear up for compliance.

Employers should start preparing for the next raft of employment law rights to be introduced at the end of summer 2024, with either brand new workplace policies, risk assessments, or updated employment contracts, to guarantee compliant and effective implementation in the workplace.

Kareena Prescott, employment law specialist and an adviser to numerous employment businesses explains: “The dust has barely settled on changes to legislation that took effect in January and more recently on 6 April. But 2024 is the year that keeps giving when it comes to employment law, with more significant changes and new legislation just a few months away, which will introduce new rules on working hours and behaviour in the workplace.”

The new Right to Predictable Hours’ regulations take effect in September, and aim to remedy the imbalance of power between employers and workers with atypical working patterns such as zero-hours workers and agency staff.

“The new Rights will give atypical workers the right to request a predictable working pattern,” Kareena explains. “Employers will have a month to respond to workers’ requests, and will only be able to refuse an application in certain circumstances, such as the cost burden to the business of the changes, or specific hours to meet customer demand.

“Employers will have to create a new Predictable Working Policy. This should include an application form for workers to use when requesting predictable hours. They must also ensure managers, workers, employees and new hires are fully aware of the new Rights, so they fully understand them and their obligations.”

Hot on the heels of these Rights is the new Sexual Harassment Liability legislation which carries far-reaching implications for employers, says Kareena: “When it comes into force in October, this legislation will place a significant responsibility on businesses. Employers will have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Furthermore, employment tribunals will have the power under the new law to increase financial compensation by 25% where an employer is deemed to have failed to comply with the Sexual Harassment duty.”

Employers should conduct a comprehensive risk assessment as soon as possible if they are to prepare for the new legislation. “The risk assessment will be crucial in identifying the preventative steps the business needs to take in order to comply,” says Kareena.

“Employment policies will need to be updated to reflect the new law and changes.  Employers have a duty to ensure workers are aware of ‘acceptable behaviours’, and line managers must be trained on how to take a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment behaviours. In support, the business must have robust reporting and investigation procedures in place, and employers should strive to nurture an open culture in the workplace, where workers feel comfortable raising any concerns.”

David McCormack, CEO, HIVE360, explains: “All of the legislative changes already introduced this year and those scheduled to take effect before the end of the year, are designed to strengthen redundancy protection, workplace environments and conditions, and carer’s leave for employees, and represent progress with formalising flexible working rules too.

“The Handbook provides bite-size overviews of the new legislation introduced early in 2024 and also that which took effect on 6 April – specifically, the Employment Rights (Flexible Working) Act 2023, Pay Reforms, Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, Holiday, increased National Minimum Wage, and Carer’s Leave Act 2023, along with the next raft of changes that will take effect at the end of the Summer. Our free guide represents an invaluable resource that will help employers understand the main features of all of the changes, will help them prepare, and importantly guide them on the specific action they need to take in order to comply.”

a free ‘Employment Law Changes’ Information Pack that summarises all the changes to UK employment law in 2024 provided by HIVE360.

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