international employment law firm alliance L&E Global
United Kingdom

UK: Legislation update

Authors: Frances Ross and Corinna Harris

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act received Royal Assent in July 2023 and is expected to come into force around July 2024. This landmark Act introduces several important changes to the current flexible working regime. See our update on Navigating the forthcoming flexible working reforms on the key upcoming changes and ACAS’ recent consultation on an updated Code of Practice.  

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act came into force on 24 July 2023, but we still await new regulations that are needed to bring the proposals into effect. For details on what new parents will be entitled to under the new law and what this means for employers, see our article: New law will give pregnant women and new parents greater protection against redundancy 


The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act received Royal Assent in July 2023. Secondary legislation will, however, be needed to set specific minimum service levels in the affected industries. A consultation has subsequently been published on a draft Code of Practice setting out the “reasonable stepsthat trade unions must take to comply with a work notice issued by employers under the Act.  


The High Court held that the Secretary of State had failed to comply with his duty to consult before making regulations allowing employment businesses to provide agency workers to cover striking workers. Consequently, the court quashed the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (The King on the application of Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, Unison, National Association for Schoolmasters & Others). 


The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill has been amended. As anticipated, the third-party harassment provision has been removed, and the obligation on employers to prevent sexual harassment at work has been changed to taking “reasonable steps” (previously, it was “all reasonable steps”). It seems from the House of Lords debate that this change is intended to make the bar lower for employers than the requirement to take “all” such steps. Further changes may be made to the Bill as it continues its passage through Parliament.  


Practical Point

  • Employers should look out for the secondary legislation, which the government has said will be forthcoming “in due course. 
  •  Employers should review and change their policies to comply with the new laws as and when they come into force.