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12 months of 2023: February



As the year ends, our 12 days of Christmas countdown rounds up the biggest news in each month.

In February 2023, hiring freezes were predicted, MPs back a right to request predictable working patterns and McDonalds was put under supervision from human rights watchdog.


Hiring freezes on horizon as UK economy set to shrink in 2023

UK employers are looking at a range of cost-cutting measures due to continued economic uncertainty.

A quarter of UK employers (26%) said they are planning to freeze all hiring in 2023, and a further 27% reported significant cuts to their recruitment budget, according to a survey of 300 employers by jobs platform Indeed Flex.

Uncertainty over business revenue also prompted a fifth (20%) to say they would not be raising staff wages.

The findings follow the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) announcement that it expected the UK economy to contract by 0.6% in 2023; a sharp downwards revision of 0.9% from its October estimate. It was also the only G7 country not forecast for growth this year.


MPs back workers’ right to request regular hours

A private member’s bill giving workers the legal right to request a predictable working pattern has found cross-party support in the House of Commons.

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill, introduced by Scott Benton, MP for Blackpool South, would allow workers with irregular shift patterns to formally apply to their employer to make their work more predictable.

The bill would give workers protection against inequitable flexibility that prioritises businesses over their workers, according to labour markets minister Kevin Hollinrake. 

He said: “Employers having one-sided flexibility over their staff is unfair and unreasonable. This bill will ensure workers can request more predictable working patterns where they want them, so they can get on with their daily lives.”


McDonald’s under supervision from human rights watchdog

McDonald’s has signed a binding agreement with Britain’s human rights watchdog to tackle inadequate handling of sexual harassment complaints made by its UK staff.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced it had entered into a monitored action plan with the fast-food chain, known as a Section 23 agreement.

Under the agreement, McDonald’s has pledged to communicate a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment, conduct an anonymous survey on staff safety with employees and improve managers’ responses to complaints.

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