Key employment law updates | October 2023

Government updates guidance on fit notes for employers and line managers

The Department for Work and Pensions has recently updated its guidance on "getting the most out of the fit note", which explains the actions required to be taken by employers if they are given a fit note by an employee.

The main difference the new guidance highlights is the change last year which made it possible for fit notes to be issued electronically and by a broad range of medical specialists (not just GPs).

In addition to the guidance updates, there are also several new resources for employers consisting of:

  • A checklist to support discussions between the employer and the employee following the employee being issued with a fit note.
  • Various case studies designed to exemplify the actions an employer should take in various scenarios.

Chancellor announces commitment to the Low Pay Commission's recommendations on increases to the National Living Wage

The Chancellor has committed to accept the Low Pay Commission's recommended increases to the National Living Wage, which are set to be announced in November. Based on the Low Pay Commission's latest forecasts, this would see the National Living Wage increase to over £11 per hour from April 2024.

People aged 23 years and over are eligible for the National Living Wage. The increase would result in a pay increase for an estimated two million workers. 

Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) Act 2023 receives Royal Assent

The Act makes provision for the Secretary of State by regulations to decrease the age and lower the qualifying earnings threshold for pensions automatic enrolment. Prior to making such regulations, the Act requires the Secretary of State to undertake a consultation and lay the draft regulations and consultation report before parliament.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be launching a consultation to implement the new provisions. It is anticipated this will be to reduce the minimum age for eligibility for employer pension scheme automatic enrolment from 22 to 18 years and lower the qualifying earnings threshold to the first pound earned.

CIPD publishes new guidance on transgender and non-binary inclusion at work

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has published new guidance on transgender and non-binary inclusion at work. The guidance is evidence-based following research and input from a range of stakeholders.

The guidance aims to provide advice to help professionals, employers and managers and improve their understanding of issues and support them in delivering transgender and non-binary equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the workplace.

ICO publishes new guidance for employers on monitoring employees and data protection & workers health information and data protection

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published new guidance aimed at employers to provide clarity and practical advice to comply with UK data protection legislation. The guidance specifically relates to employers monitoring of employees and the interaction with data protection requirements.

The detailed guidance includes both legislative requirements and good practice guidance. It includes topics such as consent requirements, monitoring technologies and tools, special category data, covert monitoring, biometric data etc.

Draft regulations laid before parliament to remove an exemption which enables live-in domestic workers to be paid less than the National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2023 have now been laid before parliament. The draft regulations seek to remove an exemption to the National Minimum Wage which enables domestic workers who live in their employer's homes to be paid less than the National Minimum Wage. If the draft regulations are approved by parliament, they are expected to come into force from April 2024.

Key contacts