What’s new in employment law?
In this employment round-up we cover rights for parents of premature or sick babies, the new women’s health strategy for the workplace launched by the government and the upcoming review of cross-border hybrid working arrangements.
Hybrid working: Upcoming review of cross-border hybrid working arrangements
On 27 July 2022, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) published a scoping document for its review into the tax and social security implications of hybrid and distance working. The review will focus, in particular, on hybrid arrangements involving employees working in a different country to that where their employer is based. This includes both employees working overseas, for employers based in the UK, and those working in the UK for overseas employers. These differ from traditional expatriate assignments which are usually for a set period. Hybrid arrangements typically involve individuals working in two or more countries, often in residential accommodation, where the location is chosen by the employee rather than the employer. The review will look at the range of issues created by these arrangements, including:
- tax residency;
- cross-border taxing rights;
- social security;
- the tax treatment of accommodation and travel expenses; and
- corporation tax.
The OTS will also conduct a high-level evidential review of the extent to which hybrid and distance working are likely to continue after the pandemic; how employers’ policies and procedures are changing; and whether the tax system could be simplified for those affected.
Government launches women’s health strategy for the workplace
On 20 July 2022, the Government published the first Women’s Health Strategy for England, a policy paper setting out a ten-year action plan to support women in key areas, including the workplace. Proposals affecting employers include:
- Encouraging workplace cultures where women can speak openly about their health with the confidence that they will be supported;
- implementing evidence-based best practice such as flexible working and menopause policies;
- improved occupational health services; and
- strengthening support for women who are undergoing fertility treatment or affected by pregnancy loss and stillbirth.
The new Women’s Health Ambassador, Dame Lesley Regan, will work with employers to help implement these measures. A recently established UK Menopause Taskforce will also consider how to improve support and tackle stigmas surrounding menopause in four key areas including the workplace, education, healthcare and research and will lead an employer-led, Government-backed communications campaign. There will also be a further call for evidence to look at the kinds of informal flexibility needed at work and at home by women and employees managing long-term health conditions.
Government seeks to improve rights for parents of premature or sick babies
The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, a Private Members’ Bill which has Government backing, had its second reading on 15 July in the House of Commons and is now at Report Stage This Bill will allow parents of premature or sick babies, who are receiving hospital care, to take 12 weeks’ paid leave in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave. Neonatal care leave and pay will be available as a day one right for all employees and will apply to parents of babies who are admitted to hospital up to the age of 28 days, with a continuous hospital stay of seven full days or more. Around 50,000 babies a year in the UK spend more than one week in neonatal care after birth.
If you would like any further information on the matters covered above or to find out how our Employment team can help you, please visit our webpages. You can also view all our previous blog articles here.