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  • HR Heartbeat: U-turn in third-party harassment bill, timeline set for flexible working changes, and…

HR Heartbeat: U-turn in third-party harassment bill, timeline set for flexible working changes, and…

Welcome to this week’s HR Heartbeat. Read about the latest changes to workplace harassment, flexible working and more!

First published on Thursday, Jul 27, 2023

Last updated on Thursday, Jul 27, 2023

1 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

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.

So, let’s check out this week’s headlines…

The Flexible Working Bill will become law

Last week it was confirmed the proposed changes to the current flexible working system will come into place and the new system is expected to come into effect in Summer 2024.

But what will change? Well, the main changes are that employees will be able to make two flexible working requests within any 12-month period, and the deadline for employers to manage such requests will be reduced from three months to two.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 has now passed all debate stages. But further regulations, and a revamped statutory Code of Practice, are needed before the changes fully come into place.

A step back for the new harassment bill

A Bill which would mean employers have a stricter duty to prevent harassment in the workplace has been weakened in the latest debate.

Harassment is defined as unwanted behaviour towards someone because of their protected characteristic. Third-party harassment is directed towards your employees from individuals outside of the organisation—think customers, clients, or members of the public.

The Government had set out proposals to make employers liable for third-party harassment, however, they know longer intend to do so.

But employers should remember that liability will still apply where the employer’s failure to deal with third-party harassment was itself motivated by the employee’s protected characteristic.

Ask BrightLightning: what are the 9 protected characteristics?

The date has been set for the King’s Speech

And, before you ask—Collin Firth won’t be making an appearance!

The King’s Speech has been set for 7th November 2023. The speech is used to confirm the new laws that the Government will aim to introduce in the coming year so it will give us a good indication of what’s to come in 2024. That includes any and all employment law changes so make sure you stay in the loop with BrightHR’s regular updates.

And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!


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