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Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.
The Autumn Statement 2023
Jeremy Hunt delivered the Autumn Statement on Wednesday 22 November 2023.
He announced the government’s tax and spending plans for the year ahead which will include 110 measures to "help grow the economy".
Other items on the agenda? Raising business investment, getting more people into work, and reducing inflation next year.
He also announced a freeze on alcohol duty till August next year and an increase to state pension from April 2024 by 8.5% to £221.20 a week, worth up to £900 more a year.
Alongside this £7 million will go into tackling antisemitism in the UK. Read our in-depth guide to learn more about your duty to allow employees to exercise their religious beliefs at work and protect your workplace from religious discrimination.
Mandatory work placements
The government has also recently announced its plan for benefit claimants who fail to find work for more than 18 months to have to undertake work experience placements. If they refuse, they’ll lose access to their benefits for a period of time.
It’s all part of new plans to get people back to work, which will also see an extra £2.5bn spent on career support.
For more support on this topic, ask BrightLightning: Do I have to pay for work experience?
Will the ban on supplying employers with agency workers during strikes be lifted?
Since 10 August 2023, it has been unlawful for agencies to knowingly supply employers with temporary agency workers to cover those who are on strike.
This was after the High Court ruled the government acted unlawfully when they changed the law in 2022 to allow agency workers to cover for striking workers.
The government did not appeal the High Court’s decision at the time, but they have now launched a consultation requesting views on turning this around again.
More will be revealed following the consultation so stay tuned! For more advice on managing agency workers in your workplace, ask BrightLightning: What rights do agency workers have?
The disabled pay gap is on the rise!
According to research from the TUC, the pay gap between non-disabled and disabled workers is now 14.6% which is higher than it was 10 years ago.
Non-disabled workers earn around a sixth (14.6%) more than disabled workers, while disabled women face an even bigger pay penalty of 30% or £3.73 an hour.
The analysis reveals the pay gap for disabled workers across the board is £1.90 an hour, or £66.50 per week.
Based on the figures, it's clear little to no progress has been made in addressing the disability pay gap in the last decade. The TUC is urging the government to take action to combat the discrimination that disabled workers face in the job market.
As a goal, disabled workers should have the same access to resources and the same opportunities to succeed. Learn more about disability discrimination and how to avoid it in your workplace here.
Amendments to the Equality Act 2010
When the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 comes into force at the end of 2023, it will remove the requirement for UK employment judges to interpret UK law in line with EU case law.
Rights derived from EU case law must be codified into the UK statute books so that they are not lost.
Therefore, 8 principles will be reproduced by amendments to the Equality Act 2010 and will take effect from 1 January 2024.
- Discrimination in access to employment
- Discrimination related to pregnancy, maternity, and breastfeeding
- Indirect discrimination by association and the definition of disability and equal pay
The Equality Act 2010 is an important law every employer must be aware of. Find out the main points you need to know in this short summary.
And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!