A guide to the imminent changes to employment law

A guide to the imminent changes to employment law

28 Feb    Advice, Columns, Finance News

A significant amount of new employment legislation is coming into effect in April 2024, all of which will have implications for employers. Here are the key changes you need to know about.

Family-friendly rights

Flexible working

Currently, an employee needs 26 weeks’ service to make a flexible working request. For requests made on or after 6 April 2024, this will become a day-one right, and employees will be able to make two requests in a 12-month period rather than just one. Employers will need to consult with employees before rejecting a request and deal with requests more promptly because their time for responding will be reduced from three months to two.

Carer’s leave

Employees will have a new right to carer’s leave if they need to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need. This will be a day-one right to one week’s unpaid leave a year. It will apply when the employee gives notice to take leave on or after 6 April 2024. They do not need to provide proof of why leave is required. Employees will not need to take the leave all at once, but they will need to take a minimum of half a day at a time.

Paternity leave

Employees will have more flexibility when taking paternity leave on or after 6 April 2024 and can split their two weeks’ leave into two separate blocks of one week. Currently, they have to take it all at once. Employees will be able to take the leave at any time during the first year following the birth or adoption instead of having to take it in the first eight weeks. The Government has reduced the notice required before each period of paternity leave to 28 days.

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Extended redundancy protection

At present, an employee on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, whose role is being made redundant, has priority over other employees in being offered any suitable, alternative role if one exists. This protection will extend to pregnant employees where the employer is notified of the pregnancy on or after 6 April 2024. The protected period is 18 months from the child’s date of birth. For maternity and adoption leave ending on or after 6 April 2024, there will be an “additional protected period” ending 18 months after the birth or adoption. The same provision will apply when shared parental leave of six consecutive weeks or more has been taken.

Statutory rates and limits

National Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2024, workers aged 21 and over will be entitled to the National Living Wage. Currently, it only applies to workers aged 23 and over. The new hourly rates will be:

– National Living Wage £11.44

– Aged 18-20 £8.60

– Aged 16-17 or Apprentice rate £6.40

Statutory sick pay

On 6 April 2024, the weekly rate will increase to £116.75.

Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and parental bereavement leave pay

From 7 April 2024, the weekly rate will increase to £184.03 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this is less than the statutory rate.

Employment Tribunal limits

For dismissals effective from 6 April 2024, the new limit on a week’s pay – used for calculating the basic award and statutory redundancy pay – will be £700. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will be £115,115.

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Changes to holiday entitlement and pay

  • There will be a new accrual method to calculate statutory holiday entitlement for part-year and irregular-hours workers whose leave years begin on or after 1 April 2024. Holidays will accrue at a rate of 12.07% of hours worked at the end of each pay period.
  • Employers will be permitted to pay rolled-up holiday pay to part-year and irregular-hours workers (if they choose to), and again, this applies to leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024.

Employers should review their HR policies and procedures and Staff Handbooks to reflect these legislative changes. Those contemplating redundancies will need to understand the implications of the extended redundancy protection, and how to manage the scenario when more than one individual has “priority” to a suitable vacancy.


Hannah Waterworth

Hannah Waterworth

Hannah Waterworth is an employment solicitor in Blake Morgan’s Employment, Pensions, Benefits and Immigration team.

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