Newsletter: December 2023

Welcome to the December edition of the AdviserPlus newsletter.

This month’s newsletter will be taking a closer look at the Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 and also confirming the date for the Flexible Working Bill.

We will also take a look at a number of recent cases which provide valuable insight and takeaways regarding the agency workers versus employee status.

This edition will also highlight some key People Dates in January 2024 for your diary.

Carer’s Leave regulations

The Carer’s Leave Regulations have been put before parliament. This will be a statutory, day one right that comes into force on 6 April 2024. The right to apply will be available for employees who:

  • Have a dependant with a long-term care need, and
  • Who require time away from work to provide and/or arrange care for that dependant

They will be entitled to one week of unpaid carer’s leave in any 12-month period. This can be taken in consecutive or non-consecutive half days or full days. The request should be submitted in writing and all required details.

Employers will be able to postpone requests if the leave will unduly impact the operation of the business however, this needs to be given in advance of the requested leave date along with an explanation.

Any employees seeking to take/taking carers leave are protected from detriment and/or dismissal.

Flexible working

The right to request flexible working from day one of employment (therefore removing the requirement to have 26 weeks service) is coming into force on 6 April 2024. Although not yet confirmed, it is also likely that the other additional law reforms on flexible working that are outlined in the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023.

These additional reforms are summarised as:

  • New requirement to meet with the employee before declining the request
  • Being able to submit two requests a year
  • A shorter time period to consider request (three months reduced to two)
  • Removal of the requirement for the employee to outline any potential impact and solution on what the request will have on the business

Employers should be planning draft amendments to their policies now to reflect both of the above changes.

Recent case law

In this case, the question was whether the claimant in Lutz v Ryanair DAC and others was classed as both being ‘employed’ and an agency worker.

The Claimant was supplied to Ryanair in the role as a pilot via a company called MCG Aviation Limited under a 5-year contract. The Claimant then requested annual leave from MCG Aviation as he classed himself as a crew member. He also claimed that he was an agency worker under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR), meaning that he thought that he was entitled to the same employment conditions as pilots employed directly by Ryanair. Both Ryanair and MCG insisted that the Claimant was self-employed. The EAT held that the Claimant was not self-employed, not in business on his own account and that Ryanair and MCG were not his clients.

The EAT dug into the contracts and found that the Claimant’s independence was ‘entirely notional’ and he was ‘plainly a worker’.

More upcoming changes

With 2024 arriving very soon, the 1st January will see changes to two laws.

  • Subject to parliamentary approval, the Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Regulations 2023, of the Equality Act 2010 will be amended to include eight principles derived from EU case law.
  • The same date will also see the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 (“the REUL Act”), will remove the interpretive effects of retained EU law. This practically will mean the sunset of directly effective EU rights, the principle of supremacy of EU law, and general principles of EU law, and ability of domestic courts to depart from retained EU case law.

January people dates for the diary

  • (All month) Dry January
  • (All month) Veganuary
  • 4th – World Braille Day – an annual celebration commemorating Louis Braille, the inventor of braille.
  • 5th – Brew Monday – A day the Samaritans reminds everyone to reach out for a cuppa and a catch-up with the people you care about.
  • 17th – 23rd – Big Energy Saving Week – an annual campaign in the United Kingdom aimed at raising awareness about energy efficiency, reducing energy bills, and combating fuel poverty.

Note: The above guidance was correct at the time of writing this article on 14/12/23. This does not constitute legal advice and is for information purposes only.
If you have any questions regarding the content of this newsletter or would like more information to support your business with the changes, please get in touch.

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