Employment Law Changes PT.1

There are numerous changes to employee’s rights (mainly) from April 2024. The effects are wide ranging.

The year ahead is set to be one of considerable change in the world of Employment Law. Much of the legislative change is being driven by post-Brexit reforms which are only now starting to come into effect.

 Minimum wage increases

As from 1 April 2024. The minimum wage, also known as National Living Wage, will increase from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour for workers over 21, for 18-20 year olds will increase from £7.49 to £8.60 per hour and the hourly rate for 16-17 year olds will increase from £5.28 to £6.40.  

Pay for individuals undertaking apprenticeships will also increase, with the rate for an 18-year-old apprentice increasing from £5.28 to £6.40 an hour.

Increases to statutory parental and bereavement payments 

As of 8 April 2024, Statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance, paternity pay, shared parental pay and adoption pay – £184.03 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate. Bereavement payments – £184.03.

Increase to statutory sick pay rate 
With effect from 8 April 2024, the weekly rate for statutory sick pay will increase to £116.75.

 Rolled-up Holiday 

For holiday years starting on or after 1 April 2024, rolled-up holiday pay will be allowed again for workers on irregular hours and part year contracts, such as zero hour and term time contracts.  Rolled-up holiday is the practice of including an amount for holiday pay on top of a worker’s normal pay, rather than when they are on holiday.  If employees opt to offer rolled-up holiday pay, they will have to apply an uplift of 12.07% to the worker’s pay for work carried out in a pay period.  The 12.07% calculation essentially converts the UK statutory holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks into a percentage of working time. 
52 weeks – 5.6 weeks = 46.4 weeks
5.6 is 12.07% of 46.4 weeks.

  • If employers do not wish to use rolled-up holiday pay, you may continue to use the current 52-week reference period to calculate holiday pay.
  • IMPORTANT – For holiday years that began on 1 January 2024, these changes do not become effective until 1 April 2025.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023
As of 6 April 2024, this Act expands the current laws protecting pregnant employees or those on, or returning from, maternity, adoption or shared parental leave and facing redundancy. At present, employees on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave have enhanced protections in redundancy situations, including the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy over other employees at risk of redundancy.

  • This Act expands the priority access to redeployment opportunities to include pregnant employees, from the time they notify their employer of their pregnancy, to 18 months after childbirth.
  • The protection only gives employees priority for redeployment opportunities, but employees can still be made redundant during the special protected period. Do ask for our advice before taking any action.

Carer’s Leave Act 2023
With effect from 6 April 2024, employees will have a statutory right to a week’s unpaid leave to care for a dependant with long term needs, defined as: a disability under the Equality Act 2010; illness or injury (physical or mental) that requires care for more than three months; or old age.  

  • The leave is a “day one” right, i.e. there is no minimum service requirement to take carers’ leave.
  • The leave can be taken flexibly e.g. in half or full days or by taking a whole week of leave at once.
  • An employer cannot deny an employee’s request for carer’s leave but can postpone it for up to a month if they reasonably consider that the work of the organisation will be unduly disrupted if the request is approved.
  • We will be providing our clients with suitable application forms.

 Flexible working

The new flexible working regulations as from 6 April 2024 give employees the right to request flexible working from day one of employment (rather than after 26 weeks which is the position currently).

  • Employees will also be able to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period (up from one) and will no longer have to explain the effect on the employer’s business of the change requested, as at present.  
  • Employers will need to consult with employees before rejecting requests and decide on the outcome within two months (instead of three).
  • We will be providing our clients with suitable application forms.

As the employment landscape evolves, employers will need to stay abreast of the upcoming legislative changes in 2024. This is an ideal opportunity to foster a workplace that is not only legally compliant but that also to creates a more equitable and supportive work environment.

By addressing legal compliance and cultural values together, employers can reduce the risk of employee issues arising or escalating. Whilst there is a lot on the horizon to consider, there is no need to panic. The best approach is to be prepared, looking inward at the support available for those dealing with employee matters and taking a holistic view of the impact of change on the workforce in challenging times.

Our team of Employment Law experts are here to support you throughout this period of change. We will provide our retained clients with updated contracts of employment and policies. Do contact us if you need support.

We can also provide bespoke training on all of these issues for HR Professionals and Managers. If this is something your organisation is interested in, please contact us for more information.

We are here to assist. If you require any further support with this topic, please email or call one of our team. We partner with many businesses to support their business growth, be it through reorganisations, reducing ET risk when faced with common employment issues, executive coaching, leadership development, robust HR policies and procedures, payroll or health and safety, please contact one of our team.

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