Wash-up process

Following the announcement of the general election, parliament was dissolved on 30 May. In the final days before dissolution, certain outstanding legislation is passed through an agreement between the government and the opposition in what is called a wash-up. Whatever isn't passed, is lost.

Legislation that was passed during the wash-up process

Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Act

This Act gives new rights to bereaved fathers and partners where a child's mother dies, filling some of the gaps in existing law. In particular:

  • The minimum service requirement will be removed, making it a day oneright.
  • Bereaved partners who've already taken shared parental leave can take paternity leave too.
  • Paternity leave will still be available if both the mother and child die.

None of this is in force yet, as further regulations are needed to do this. Is seems the aim was April 2025.

It was also suggested that the length of paternity leave in these circumstances would be increased from 2 weeks to 52 weeks – this isn't in the Act, but could still be implemented later.

Code on Fire and Rehire

As we discussed last year, this code encourages employers to engage in open and thorough negotiations over changes to employment terms before considering firing and rehiring employees on new terms.

It'll come into force on 18 July 2024.

Tribunals must consider the code (where relevant), and may adjust compensation for certain tribunal claims, including unfair dismissal awards, by up to 25%.

Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act

The Act ensures that tips, gratuities and service charges paid by customers are allocated to workers.

The aim is to increase fairness in tipping practices and level the playing field for employers who already allocate all tips to workers by ensuring that all employers follow the same rules.

Employers are required to:

  • pass on all tips and service charges to workers without deductions (with some exceptions);
  • distribute tips fairly and transparently (including a written policy and record keeping); and
  • deal with tips no later than the end of the month after the month in which were received.

The Act was expected to come into force in July, but has been delayed until 1 October 2024.

The accompanying statutory Code of Practice on Fair and Transparent Distribution of Tips was approved and is expected to come into force at the same time.

Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Act

This Act cracks down on fake reviews and subscription traps.

It also gives the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) the power to enforce consumer protection law directly, without needing to go to court first – it can fine businesses up to 10% of their turnover. Both the CMA and courts can award compensation to consumers.

Most of the act will be implemented through secondary legislation, with the timing depending on the next government.

Legislation that was passed before the wash-up process

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act

This Act received Royal Assent in May last year.

It planned a new day one right to allow parents to take up to 12 weeks' paid leave if their newborn baby is admitted to neonatal care for at least 7 out of the first 28 days.

Regulations are required to bring most of this into force. Although the expected timetable under the previous government was 'not before April 2025', because of the many sets of regulations required, it's now uncertain.

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act

This Act received Royal Assent in September last year.

It intended to give employees, workers and agency workers the right to request changes if they're on unpredictable working patterns or short, fixed-term contracts.

It was supposed to come into force in September 2024. However, neither the regulations required to do so nor the final accompanying statutory code were published before parliament was dissolved.