Regulatory Outlook

Employment, contingent workforce and immigration | UK Regulatory Outlook May 2024

Published on 31st May 2024

Employment law reforms | UK government publishes guidance on responsible artificial intelligence in human resources and recruitment 

Employment law reforms

A general election has now been announced for 4 July; should a Labour government be elected, we will see significant changes to employment law. We will be closely watching the commitments from all parties in the run up to the election. 

We looked at the implications of a change in government in our latest Eating Compliance for Breakfast Webinar which you can watch here. Our webinar also looks at the new employment laws which came into force in April, as well as those which are still set to come into force over the coming months, including:

  • For TUPE transfers taking place on or after 1 July 2024, an extension of the existing exemption for micro-businesses (those with less than 10 employees) which allows information and consultation to take directly with employees where there are no existing representatives in place to: employers with fewer than 50 employees; or employers of any size but where the transfer involves fewer than 10 employees.
  • The new duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace set out in the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 and which is due to come into force on 26 October 2024; we are currently awaiting a consultation on amendments to technical guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission which will support this new right.

We may also still see some proposals which have effectively already been signed off, pushed through quickly before the current Parliament dissolves, such as the new fire and re-hire statutory code of practice, which was expected to apply from 18 July. It is more unlikely that private members' bills will be prioritised during this period; there is currently a private members' bill which makes provision for paternity leave on the death of a mother or adopter, proceeding through Parliament and which is due to be heard in Committee stage this week; again, it may be that this is pushed through but we now need to wait and see how it progresses.

On 16 May 2024, the government also announced a new consultation on other proposed amendments to TUPE; clarifying that the definition of employee in TUPE does not capture "limb b workers" (as defined in the Employment Rights Act 1996) and that where a service transfers to multiple transferees, an employee's contract cannot be split and will only transfer to one transferee as agreed by those multiple transferees (although the consultation is silent on what mechanism would be in place should the parties be unable to agree). The consultation also looks at repealing the legal framework for European Works Councils in the UK. The consultation closes on 11 July and in light of the General Election on 4 July, these changes are unlikely to be a priority.

UK government publishes guidance on responsible artificial intelligence in human resources and recruitment

The Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) has released guidance to assist organisations that use artificial intelligence (AI) in recruitment to ensure that they are adhering to the UK government's AI "high level principles" for the regulation of AI.

The government, per its AI white paper of March 2023 and consultation response of February 2024, will not be introducing new regulation on AI as it stands. Instead, existing UK regulators will apply their existing powers within their respective jurisdictions guided by the "high-level principles".

While there is no overarching "regulator" for general workforce or employment matters, DSIT's guidance addresses any subsequent lack of clarity on how the high-level principles apply to AI used for recruitment. Specifically, it outlines how organisations should adopt AI assurance mechanisms to support the responsible procurement and deployment of AI systems in HR and recruitment. See our Insight.


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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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