New UK employment law proposals in the pipeline

The UK Government has proposed several major legal changes that will have a significant impact on employers should they come into action:-

Sexual harassment

The Government has proposed taking action to ensure that employers take all possible steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The Government’s key proposals include the following:-

  • Introducing a mandatory duty on employers to prevent harassment in the workplace;
  • Strengthening and clarifying employment law on third-party harassment in the workplace; and
  • Introducing a statutory code of practice on sexual harassment at work.

The right to request flexible working

The Government is proposing to remove the requirement for employees to have completed 26 weeks of service before being entitled to make a flexible working request. This would give employees the right to request flexible working from “day one”.

Working mother with baby

Part of the proposal is to adjust how employers are expected to manage flexible working requests. If it is implemented, it would allow employees to make more than one statutory flexible working request every 12 months. It would also reduce the three-month time limit for employers to deal with statutory flexible working requests and require them to consider alternative working arrangements when rejecting a statutory flexible working request.

Further redundancy protection for female employees on maternity leave

Employees on maternity leave already have the right to be offered a suitable alternative position in a redundancy situation. However, the Government intends to extend this protection to cover the period from the date that the employer finds out about the pregnancy, to six months after the employee’s maternity leave ends.

The Government’s key proposals include ensuring that the redundancy protection period covers the employee from the point that she informs her employer orally or in writing that she is pregnant, until six months after she has returned to work, with the protection period continuing once maternity leave is finished.

This proposal would also apply to those taking adoption leave and shared parental leave.  The proposal does not apply to those taking paternity leave.

Feel free to contact our solicitors for any further information you may need regarding how these proposed changes could affect your workplace.


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