Employment law updates: Minimum wage 2023, strike staffing levels, carers’ leave and parental redundancy protection, £60,000 award for maternity returner discrimination

Jill Evans, Law Content Analyst, CIPD, looks at employment law developments in October and November 2022 for England, Scotland and Wales.  

Minimum wage 2023 

The government has announced a 9.7% increase across most categories of the National Minimum Wage and a 10.9% increase for workers in the 21-22 age band. Rates for 16 and 17-year-olds and apprentices rise by 47%. From 1 April 2023, the hourly rates will be: 

  • National Living Wage (workers aged 23 and over) £10.42 
  • National Minimum Wage (workers aged 21-22) £10.18 
  • Development rate (workers aged 18-20) £7.49 
  • Young workers rate (aged 16-17 years) £5.28 
  • Apprentice rate £5.28 

Transport strikes 

The government plans to minimise the disruption caused by public transport strikes by introducing the Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. Expected to come into force in 2023, the bill would: 

  • require employers and unions to agree a level of service for strikes during a three-month period 
  • remove automatic unfair dismissal protection from striking staff specified in the agreement  
  • potentially allow employers to take out an injunction preventing the strike if specified staff take part in it. 

There will be a consultation on how the law will work in practice. 

Parliamentary bills 

The government is supporting a number of parliamentary bills submitted by individual MPs on measures expected to be in an Employment Bill. The Carer’s Leave Bill will give employees a day one right to five days’ unpaid leave a year to care, or arrange care, for a dependant who is: 

  • disabled under the Equality Act 2010 
  • has an illness or injury likely to last more than three months 
  • in need of care because of old age. 

The leave can be taken in full or half days. Employees can make a tribunal claim if their employer prevents them from taking it, or unreasonably postpones it. The government committed to this reform in a consultation response last year. 

The government has also backed a new Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Billoffering pregnant women and new parents greater protection against redundancy. Employers must currently give employees on maternity leave priority for any suitable alternative vacancies in a redundancy situation. This bill would protect mothers from the time they notify their employer of their pregnancy and last for 18 months from when they start maternity leave. It would also cover parents adopting and those taking shared parental leave. The reform became government policy in 2019. 

Two other Private Members’ bills – on flexible working and on the prevention of sexual harassment – would implement policies the government has consulted on in the past and, in the case of the prevention of sexual harassment, committed to. It remains to be seen whether they receive government backing. 

Maternity returner awarded £60,000   

In Patterson v Morrisons Supermarkets, the retailer withdrew a promotion offer after finding out a part-time buyer was pregnant. On her return from maternity leave, she was required to work full-time in a different role although part-time working had been agreed. The employer then decided the new role could be performed part-time, criticised her for not meeting deadlines, and expected her to be contactable on non-working days. She took sick leave due to stress and eventually resigned. She won £60,442 for constructive unfair dismissal and sex discrimination having defended herself in the tribunal with support from the campaigning group Pregnant then screwed. 

Other cases to note: 

  • In Jhuti v Royal Mail Group, a whistleblower was bullied, harassed and intimidated by her superior to whom she reported a potential fraud. The line manager responded by criticising her performance. Eventually, she was dismissed for poor performance by an independent manager who did not know about the whistleblowing. She became severely depressed. A tribunal said the employer’s treatment had destroyed her life and awarded her £100,000 in compensation. 
  • In Mogane v Bradford Teaching Hospitals, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found a nurse on a fixed-term contract had been unfairly dismissed when she was selected for redundancy on the basis that her fixed-term contract expired before her colleague's did. 
  • In Ponticelli v Gallagher, an employee claimed his share incentive scheme should have transferred in a TUPE transfer. The new employer had no similar scheme and offered an alternative one-off payment which the employee refused. The EAT ruled the new employer must provide an alternative scheme. 

Explore our resources on these subjects:  

National Minimum Wage 

Statutory rates and compensation limits – tribunal compensation limits and statutory pay rates 

Bills in Parliament 

Recent and forthcoming legislation - latest employment law developments and future changes 

Supporting working carers – research on working carers in England and Wales 

Flexible working – guidance, practical tools and resources 

Industrial action 

Employee relations – factsheets, reports, Q&As, case law and podcasts 

Case law topics 

Case law on sex discrimination - selected cases on sex discrimination in the workplace 

Case law on whistleblowing – cases on protection for making protected disclosures at work 

Case law on redundancy -  cases on redundancy, including how selection pools work 

Case law on TUPE – cases showing how the transfer rules are interpreted by courts and tribunals 


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