HR briefing - April 2023

19 April 2023

Welcome to this month's briefing for HR teams and in-house employment counsel – bringing you this month’s employment law highlights in an easy-to-read package, and now with a podcast too.

This month’s podcast: managing sexual harassment allegations

As Parliament considers new legislation aimed at increasing protection against sexual harassment at work, Tabitha Al-Mahdawie joins Matthew Ramsey to discuss some of the complexities of this difficult area including how employers respond to harassment allegations in the workplace and third party harassment. 

Budget – pension changes

Readers will all have seen the well-publicised changes to pension allowances, which mainly affect higher earners. Faye Jarvis, Camilla Barry and Scarlett Yu from our Pensions team have written an in-depth piece with all the details.

Data privacy

The Government has reintroduced legislation to create a new data privacy regime for the UK. The new scheme was first presented to Parliament in 2022, but withdrawn under the Truss administration. Of significance to HR teams are the proposed changes to data subject access requests (DSARs). The steps are designed to make it easier for employers to charge a fee in some cases, and to allow "vexatious" requests to be ignored. This might potentially allow a DSAR to be refused where simultaneous legal proceedings are afoot, because the disclosure obligations in the litigation often substantially overlap with the DSAR response. We shall keep a close watch on the draft as it moves through Parliament, and on the reaction of the European Commission, which has repeatedly indicated that it regards any diminution in the protection afforded to data subjects as likely to jeopardise the "adequacy decision" that permits personal data to be transferred between the UK and EU.

New unfair dismissal award caps, maternity/paternity/adoption pay rates, sick pay rates and minimum wage levels

The new statutory rates take effect in April which are set out in our rates and limits card.

New injury to feelings award limits

Alongside the annual uprating of the unfair dismissal caps, a week’s pay, statutory redundancy payments and the various family leave rates, the so-called Vento bands have also been increased. The bands set out the parameters for injury to feelings awards, which are available as an additional remedy in discrimination and whistleblowing claims. There are three bands, reflecting the seriousness of the impact on the victim:





£29,600 to £49,300

£33,700 to £56,200


£9,900 to £29,600

£11,200 to £33,700


£990 to £9,900

£1,100 to £11,200

Workplace and communications: blurring the lines in the modern workplace

With the proliferation of digital communication, monitoring, searching for and disclosing relevant documents is becoming an increasingly complex, time consuming and, ultimately, costly exercise. Compounding this difficulty, whether legitimately or otherwise, employees often blur the lines, using personal devices and servers for work communications, and work devices and servers for personal communications. This generates an increasingly prevalent problem for compliance departments and legal teams dealing with evidence and disclosure.

Our colleagues in litigation have written two articles looking at the challenges for commercial litigants and the implications and practicalities from the perspective of regulated entities.

Work and personal communications: blurring the lines in the modern workplace – part one

Work and personal communications: blurring the lines in the modern workplace – part two

Home Office simplifies certain Sponsor Licence management functions

For Sponsor Licence holders, the Home Office has announced a few simplifications to the Sponsor Management System.

Firstly, from 24 June 2023, annual Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocations will now be automatically renewed with sponsors being granted the same number as the previous year’s allocation. If extra CoS’s are needed for any upcoming year, sponsors can still request an increase at any time.

Many of our clients enjoy the annual game of future hire prediction that we ask you to undertake, but this will sadly come to an end soon!

Secondly, the following sponsor licence update requests will now be processed straight away:

  • replacing the Authorising Officer and Key Contact;
  • adding a Level 1 user; and
  • updating the organisation details.

Applications will need to meet the following requirements:

  • the licence is fully active and A-rated; and
  • the postcode of the address stated for the new Authorising Officer, Key Contact, or Level 1 user matches either the postcode of the main organisation address or head office address, or for Key contacts and Level 1 users only, the postcode of a legal representative. 

Before this change, the processing time was 6-18 weeks unless you were willing to pay £200 for priority service.

These are some welcome changes and we understand that a new version of the Sponsor Management System (which has not been updated since 2008!) is currently being tested ahead of roll out.