From new rules on annual leave to EU equality laws: the news round-up

This week’s HR news round-up covers everything from changes to the rules on annual leave and pay for term-time and irregular hours workers to reports that the Government will retain the EU single source test used in equality cases.


New rules on holiday for term-time workers tabled

The UK Government has tabled new laws which aim to simplify the issues around holiday pay calculation for people who work irregular hours or part of the year who are on permanent contracts.

The changes are on several areas, including:

  • Rolled up holiday pay – rolled up holiday pay will become lawful again for irregular hours workers, including zero hours workers, and part-year workers. It must be calculated based on total earnings in the pay period.
  • Leave entitlement for irregular hours workers and part-year workers – this will be calculated using an accrual method. Leave will be accrued based on 12.07% of hours worked in the pay period, regardless of whether that pay period is monthly, weekly, or daily. An annual leave accrual method will be introduced for when irregular hours workers and part-year workers take sick leave or maternity/family related leave. “Irregular hours worker” and “part-year worker” [such as term-time workers will be defined in law and will include agency workers if they meet the definitions.
  • Covid-related holiday provisions change – provisions allowing workers to carry over four weeks of leave into the next two leave years if it was not reasonably practicable for them to take it due to the pandemic, will be removed. Normal rules will apply from 1 January 2024, which means that 1.6 weeks can be carried over to the next leave year where there is written agreement between employer/employee. Any leave carried over due to Covid that has been accrued, but not taken by that date must be taken before 31st March 2024.

The new model on annual leave departs from the confusion caused by a recent Supreme Court decision and aims to prove a simpler accrual model accounting for varying hours.

Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula, said:“The guidance will be welcomed by employers, ending lots of confusion around calculating holiday entitlement for part-year workers following the July 2022 ruling in the Harpur Trust v Brazel case. There are proposed changes to several areas of law but no set date for any of these to be implemented, as yet. Laws will still need to be made for any of these proposed changes to take effect, but employers should take heart from this new guidance, ensuring they stay up to date on any legislative changes.”

Read more here.

‘Motherhood penalty’ has pushed a tenth of working mums to leave a job

Over one in ten (11%) working mothers with very young children have left a job in recent years due to the challenges of balancing work and childcare, new research shows.

Almost one in five working mothers (19%) had also considered leaving their job, according to the research published today by the Fawcett Society, a women’s rights charity, and TotalJobs, a recruitment firm. The researchers polled 3,000 parents of children aged four and under in June.

Over three-quarters of mothers have a paid job, the highest rate for 20 years, according to official data. But several recent pieces of research have shown that mothers struggle to progress and reach senior levels in these jobs, when compared to fathers or child-free colleagues. This leaves mothers worse off financially, both day to day and when they retire.

Over a third (39%) of mothers and a quarter (26%) of fathers cite flexible working as the top form of workplace support that they want, the Fawcett Society’s new research shows. Flexible working covers a wide range of set-ups, from hybrid working to part-time and term-time roles.

The researchers also polled HR leaders, who largely said staff were more productive and easier to retain when the right support was put in place. Despite this, less than a third of mothers (31%) said they had access to the flexible working arrangements that they needed.

Read more here.

Concerns over staffing for childcare expansion plans

Over half of nursery staff [57%] and 38% of childminders are considering quitting the sector in the next year, according to a survey by the Early Education and Childcare Coalition and the University of Leeds.

The study, Retention and return: delivering the expansion of early years entitlement in England, comes ahead of the Government’s controversial childcare expansion programme which will offer 30 hours of ‘free childcare’ to eligible parents of nine-month-olds by 2025.

The researchers found that, even using conservative estimates, the number of childcare places in England would need to grow by 6% in order to meet the demand created by the Government’s planned expansion.

However, many nursery settings say they are unlikely to offer the new entitlement because of an inability to recruit and retain suitably qualified staff. The recent changes to staff:child ratios were found to increase the likelihood of early years professionals wanting to leave the sector.

Read more here.

EU equality laws may be reinstated

The Government is reported to be planning to reinstate EU equality and discrimination laws before they expire at the end of the year, according to Sky News.

Sky says equality legislation including maternity law protections for returning mothers, breastfeeding protections and the single source test, which gives women the right to equal pay with men for doing work of equal value, will be reinstated through the replacement of the controversial Brexit Freedoms Bill with a statutory instrument to enshrine key rights and principles derived from the EU into British law.

However, there are concerns that any moves to retain EU laws will meet with resistance from Brexiteers inside the Conservative Party.

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