There already seems to be some strong indication that 2023 will see significant changes to Employment Law in multiple areas. Whilst we are keeping a close eye on the developments, we have highlighted below, the most likely changes in the near future that businesses should be aware of.

Neonatal Leave and Pay Bill

On 15th July 2022, the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill passed its second reading in the house of commons, with government backing. It is now currently in the House of Lords for the second reading. It is not known exactly when it will come into force, but it is legislation we should be looking out for this year.

What will it allow?

  • The new legislation will allow parents of babies who are admitted into a hospital for neonatal care (aged 28 days or less) to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave in addition to their usual Maternity or Paternity leave. It is to allow parents to spend more time with their unwell baby without using other means of leave to do so.

How will it work?

The right to leave will be a day-one right for employees. The baby, having been born prematurely or sick, must be receiving neonatal care in a hospital or other agreed care. The baby must have been admitted to a hospital up to the age of 28 days and have a continuous stay in a hospital (or agreed care) for at least 7 days.

The employee will also be entitled to statutory pay subject to usual provisions such as a 26 weeks’ continuous service pre-requisite.

This will be key legislation for employers to look out for as policies on the types of family leave available to employees will need to be updated, as well as any standard employment contracts being used.

Flexible Working Requests

With the trend towards increased flexibility at work continuing, the government has confirmed that it intends to take forward a number of proposals in its recent consultation paper aimed at making “flexible working the default”. 

Although there is no exact timetable, there is a strong indication that the following changes to flexible working requests will come into force sooner rather than later:

  • Day one right - at present, an employee must have worked for their employer continuously for 26 weeks to have the right to make a flexible working request. This time frame will be removed so that this is now a day-one right.
  • Two requests in 12 months - the rule that employees can only make one request in 12 months will change to up to two requests in any 12-month period. An employer will also have to respond to any request within two months instead of the current three-month period.
  • Duty to discuss alternatives ­ there will be a new duty on the employer to consult with the employee and discuss alternatives rather than just simply rejecting their request.
  • Eight reasons for refusal - there is no proposed change to the eight reasons an employer can reasonably refuse a flexible working request.
  • Employees will no longer be required to set out how their employer might deal with the effects of their request.

Sunset on retained EU Law

All retained EU Law will expire on the 31st December 2023 unless the government incorporates it into UK domestic law.  The government wants to only retain legislation that it thinks the UK needs, and it wants to make the process of amending or replacing retained EU law easier. 

How could it affect employment law?

Government departments are determining which retained EU law can expire and which needs to be preserved and incorporated into domestic law so we will have to wait and see but any EU-derived legislation (which is not contained in Acts of Parliament) will evaporate under the sunset Bill unless the government purposely retain them.  Areas that could be affected by employment law include:

  • The Working Time Regulations
  • Agency Worker Regulations
  • Part-time Worker Regulations
  • Fixed-Term Worker Regulations
  • Transfer of Undertakings (Protection from Employment) Regulations (TUPE)

Carers leave

New laws are being introduced which will allow employees, who are unpaid carers, to take five days of unpaid leave for the purposes of, or in connection with, their caring role.

What does it mean for employers?

This will be a day-one right, meaning unpaid carers will be entitled to this leave regardless of how long they have worked for their employer. This will therefore need to be added to handbooks and policies in due course informing employees of any leave they are entitled to.

Statutory ACAS Code of Practice on ‘Fire and Re-hire’

A draft code has been published relating to situations of ‘fire and re-hire.’ This is welcomed after P&O Ferries used this tactic last year on a large scale. The government now seeks to regulate these situations.

If employers intend to change their employees’ terms and conditions of employment but are unable to reach an agreement with them and wish to dismiss those employees and re-engage them on the new terms, employers are recommended to use the new draft ACAS code of practice on ‘fire and re-hire’ when doing so.

What does this mean for employers?

This new code will be taken into account when assessing the fairness of the procedure. Therefore, employers should be familiar with this, so they are aware of how to ‘fire and re-hire’ fairly and avoid any litigation risks. Although this new code is only guidance and not legislation, Employment Tribunals are likely to award a 25% uplift to any claimant if an employer fails to follow this new code of practice. And similarly, a 25% decrease in compensation if the employee fails to do so.

Extra Bank Holiday

As there will be the Coronation of King Charles III this year in May, the UK has an extra bank holiday on Monday 8 May. Therefore, employees who are entitled to leave on bank holidays will have this extra day of leave. This is only for 2023.

Extending Redundancy Protection

This, again, is a proposed change and not yet in legislation but forms part of the Government’s approved Bill. Therefore, we are likely to see this change implemented.

What will the change be?

Redundancy protection during maternity leave will be extended to cover any period of pregnancy and the immediate months following the return to work after family leave. This period is likely to be 6 months.

What does this mean in practice?

These employees can still be selected for redundancy but, they will have priority over other employees for suitable available vacancies. Employers should therefore be aware of this potential change so as to not leave themselves open to any potential pregnancy and maternity discrimination in redundancy situations.

Rate of pay increases

The Department for Work and Pensions published its annual rate increases which will take effect from April 2023.

The rate for statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental pay will increase to £172.48 per week from £156.66.

Parental bereavement pay will increase to £172.48 per week from £156.66

The rate for Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £109.40 per week from £99.35

The national minimum wage in the UK will also rise:

  • Age 23 and over - £10.42 per hour (previously £9.50)
  • 21-22 - £10.18 per hour (previously £9.18)
  • 18-20 - £7.49 per hour (previously £6.83)
  • 16-17 - £5.28 per hour (previously £4.81)
  • Apprentices - £5.28 per hour (previously £4.81)

How 3CS can help

We are ready to support and advise your business on all aspects of employment law. Please get in touch with your usual 3CS contact for more information.




Emma Dubar


3CS Corporate Solicitors

Providing solutions, not just legal advice
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Registered in England & Wales | Registered office is 60 Moorgate, London, EC2R 6EJ
3CS Corporate Solicitors Ltd is registered under the number 08198795
3CS Corporate Solicitors Ltd is a Solicitors Practice, authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with number 597935

Registered in England & Wales | Registered office is 60 Moorgate, London, EC2R 6EJ
3CS Corporate Solicitors Ltd is registered under the number 08198795
3CS Corporate Solicitors Ltd is a Solicitors Practice, authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with number 597935