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Still no Employment Bill but ...

Despite no sign of the promised Employment Bill, there has been some progress on legislation relating to neonatal care leave and tips/service charges.

There was no mention of an Employment Bill in the May 2022 Queen’s Speech opening the new session of Parliament. However, two Private Members’ Bills will take forward some of the legislation which was expected to feature in the Bill. (It is relatively uncommon for Private Members’ Bills to reach the statute book without explicit government support and it remains to be seen whether any of the other employment law reforms, for instance carer’s leave, will be introduced via a similar route.)

Neonatal care leave

The introduction of neonatal care leave was first mooted back in 2020. Under the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, parents will each be able to take up to 12 weeks’ paid leave, in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity/paternity leave. (Currently, parents of a baby in neonatal care must rely on their existing statutory leave entitlements to enable them to be off work while the baby is in hospital.) Once this right is in force (not expected before 2024), neonatal care leave will be available to employees from their first day in a new job and will apply to parents of babies who are admitted into hospital up to the age of 28 days, and who have a continuous stay in hospital of seven full days or more.

Tips, gratuities and service charges

The government first committed to banning employers from making deductions from staff tips back in 2018.

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill will amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 to require employers to ensure that all tips, gratuities and service charges they receive or exercise control over are paid to workers in full without deductions and by the end of the following month in which the tip was paid. This will be supplemented by a statutory code of practice. Employers will have to keep records of how tips have been dealt with and workers will have a right to request more information about their employer’s tipping record. Employers will be required to have a written policy on dealing with tips and workers will be able to bring tribunal claims if their employer hasn’t dealt with tips correctly. As well as those working directly for hospitality businesses, agency workers supplied to such businesses will also be covered. The House of Commons Library has published a useful briefing paper on the Bill.