Employment law 5 in 5: October 2023

1 November 2023 3 min read

By Sarah Hellewell

At a glance

  • 5 developments to read for October in less than 5 minutes.

UK: Supreme Court decision increases potential liability for holiday pay

A recent decision of the UK Supreme Court could significantly increase employers’ exposure to claims for underpaid holiday as it removes (in most cases) the potential for successfully arguing that the series of deductions has been broken, either by the three-month rule or the making of a lawful payment. The impact of the decision in Great Britain is slightly mitigated by previous legislation which created a two-year backstop for such claims. However, this decision is the latest in a series of judgments which demonstrate the lack of clarity in the UK legislation governing entitlement to holiday pay. 

Whistleblowing: 17 December 2023 deadline approaches for EU reporting channels

The EU Whistleblower Protection Directive requires all private sector employers with 50 or more workers to establish internal channels and procedures for receipt and follow-up of whistleblowing reports. Although national deadlines for meeting this requirement have mostly passed for large employers,  in many countries employers with 50 to 249 workers have until 17 December 2023 to comply.

See our Guide to implementation of the Whistleblower Protection Directive for more information.

Focus: Immigration rule changes

Change to immigration rules is a topic which has emerged as a theme across the globe in recent months, with various updated rules providing increased scope for global businesses to transfer staff between countries. In Hong Kong an "enhanced supplementary labour scheme" has been launched to alleviate manpower shortages; in Germany the Skilled Workers Immigration Act provides greater scope for recruitment of foreign staff; and in Sweden a new unit has been set up to encourage "highly qualified labour immigration". Despite this greater flexibility in some countries,  it remains important to adhere to the required procedures, as demonstrated by the UK’s recent decision to triple the level of fines for employers that allow individuals to work without lawful immigration status.

Prepare: New laws and developments in the US

On 26 October 2023, the National Labor Relations Board issued a final rule which will significantly broaden the circumstances under which companies can be considered “joint employers” of another company’s workers under federal labor law. The new rule – which is set to take effect on 26 December 2023 – creates compliance challenges affecting many industries and common business practices. Legal challenges to the rule are expected.

On the artificial intelligence (AI) front, President Biden unveiled the long anticipated Executive Order laying the foundations for the future regulation of AI.

Employers are also facing new state laws across the country on a wide range of topics (e.g. sick leave, workplace violence prevention, noncompetition agreements, background checks, minimum wages, whistleblowers, pay transparency, arbitration, cannabis use). Read more about developments in California and New York.

New webinar series: Employment in Belgium

We’re excited to announce a new webinar series, Employment in Belgium, which will explore hot topics affecting HR in Belgium, with the series tailored specifically to companies, legal counsel and HR practitioners. Webinars will take place twice a year.

In our first webinar on 28 November 2023, we’ll focus on managing performance and long-term sick employees, using e-signatures on HR documents, what you need to know about base salary in Belgium and recording working time. Click here for further information.

Other upcoming events include our Nordic Employment Law Update Webinar on 9 November 2023 and our UK webinar on Next Steps for Diversity & Inclusion in Financial Services on 22 November 2023.