UK government's employment measures: what has passed and what has not before the general election?

29 May 2024 | Applicable law: England and Wales | 2 minute read

The surprise announcement of a general election on 4 July has meant some of the current government's employment related measures have finished their passage through Parliament just in time to become law, whilst others have fallen by the wayside. What has passed and what has not?

•     An order bringing into effect a new statutory Code of Practice on dismissal and re-engagement finished its         passage through Parliament on 28 May 2024. It brings the Code into force on 18 July 2024 (see the draft Code here). The Code covers situations where employers plan to use 'fire and rehire' as a way of forcing through changes to employment contracts but will only apply if the possibility of dismissal and re-engagement is raised for the first time by the employer after 18 July. 

•    An Order that would allow compensation to be increased or reduced if the Code is not followed, was also expected to come into force on 18 July 2024, but whether these additional measures do fully become law may depend on the outcome of the election. The Labour Party has committed to taking steps either to minimise or remove altogether an employers' ability to fire and rehire in order to force through changes to contracts of employment.

•     The Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Bill received Royal Assent on 24 May 2024, becoming the Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Act 2024. The Act provides for a relaxation of qualifying requirements and an extension of leave for fathers and partners in situations where the mother or adopter of a child has died. Surrogacy arrangements are also covered. Regulations will still be needed to bring some of the Act's provisions into effect.

•    The statutory Code of Practice on the fair and transparent distribution of tips finished its passage through Parliament on 24 May 2024. Commencement regulations are now needed to bring the Code, and the remaining provisions of the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023, into force. The planned coming into force date was 1 October 2024, but the election has cast some doubt on this.

•    The right for workers and agency workers to request a more predictable work pattern has been passed into law through the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023, but regulations are needed to it bring it and the accompanying Code of Practice from ACAS into effect. No regulations were laid before Parliament disbanded so the proposed implementation date of 1 October 2024 is now in doubt.

•    The Data Protection and Digital information Bill would have introduced more flexibility in data protection compliance and made provision for a variety of measures relating to personal data and other information. It would have eased some of the record keeping burden on smaller employers and arguably would have made some data subject access requests easier to manage. The bill had made substantial progress through parliament but is now effectively lost as public bills cannot be carried over from one Parliament to the next.

•    On 16 May 2024 the Government published a consultation paper on clarifications to TUPE and abolishing the legal framework for European Works Councils. The consultation closes on 11 July 2024. However the general election puts the prospect of legislation in this area in doubt.

There therefore remains some uncertainty about what will happen to some of the current Government's proposals for employment law reform. We will be saying more about each political party's plans for employment law in future newsletters.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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