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Employment Law Updates 2024

Paternity Pay Regulations 2024

Effective from 8 March 2024

  • Allows paternity leave to be taken as two one-week non-consecutive blocks
  • Replaces the eight-week period in which fathers can take paternity leave with a 52-week period.
  • A shorter notice period is now required to take paternity leave – no less than four weeks.
  • Paternity leave dates can be varied provided that the father gives four weeks’ notice of the variation.

National Minimum Wage

Effective from 1 April 2024

The following rates now apply:

  • For those aged 21 and older: £11.44 per hour – this is an increase from £10.42 for the over-23s, and from £10.18 for those aged 21 – 22.
  • There is no longer a separate bracket for those aged 21 – 22.
  • For those aged 18 – 20: £8.60 per hour – an increase from £7.49
  • For the under-18s: £6.40 per hour – an increase from £5.28
  • For apprentices: £6.40 per hour – an increase from £5.28.
  • This rate applies to the under-19s, and those aged 19 and over in the first year of their apprenticeship.

National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2024

Effective from 1 April 2024

Workers who:

  • reside in the family home of their employer,
  • are not a member of that family but are treated as such (e.g. they may share meals or leisure activities), and
  • are not required to pay their employer for accommodation or meals… are now treated as workers and are entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023

Effective from 1 January 2024, applying to leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024

The Working Time Regulations are amended to include defined terms for:

  • “irregular-hours worker” – a worker whose number of paid hours in each pay period is wholly or mostly variable
  • “part-year worker” – a worker who is only required to work part of the year, and there are periods of at least a week when they are not required to work and for which they are not paid.

Those workers’ holiday entitlements are calculated in hours rather than weeks. Their holiday will accrue on the last day of each pay period at the rate of 12.07% of the actual hours worked in that pay period.

Employers can choose two methods of holiday pay for those workers:

  • They can pay holiday pay when holiday is taken, calculated at the rate of a week’s pay for each week’s holiday,
  • They can choose to pay rolled-up holiday pay, which is an uplift of 12.07% to their pay for work done in each pay period.

Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

Effective from 6 April 2024

  • Employees are now entitled to make a statutory flexible working request from day-one (they used to need 26 weeks’ service).
  • Employees can make two statutory flexible working requests within a 12-month rolling period (it used to be one).
  • Employers must consult with an employee before refusing their statutory flexible working request.

Carers Leave Act 2023

Effective from 6 April 2024

Employees are entitled to apply for up to one week’s unpaid leave in any rolling 12-month period. This is a day-one right for employees who:

  • have a dependant with a long-term care need, and
  • are taking leave to provide or arrange care for that dependant.

Employees must give written notice of their intention to take carer’s leave.

Employers are entitled to postpone the request if it would disrupt the business, but they must give notice of the postponement and explain the reason. The employer must ensure that the postponed leave occurs no more than a month later than was originally planned.

Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024

Effective from 6 April 2024

These regulations extend the existing redundancy protection (i.e., the right to be offered first refusal of any suitable alternative vacancies) to:

  • New parents who have recently returned from a period of maternity or adoption leave, and
  • New parents who have recently returned from a period of shared parental leave which lasted six weeks or more.

The protection will last for 18 months starting with the date of birth/placement of the child.

Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023

Expected in May 2024

Employers will be required to:

  • Pass the entirety of any tips and service charges to their staff without any deductions;
  • Create and keep a written policy on how they deal with tips; and
  • Keep records of all tips and service charges received for at least three years.

Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

Expected in September 2024

Workers and agency workers will gain a right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work if:

  • There is a lack of predictability in their working pattern,
  • The change relates to the work pattern, and
  • The purpose of applying for the change is to get a more predictable work pattern.

There is no definition of predictability, other than in relation to a fixed-term contract of 12 months or less, which is automatically deemed unpredictable.

Employers must make a decision within one month and may only reject the application on certain specified grounds.

Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023

Expected in October 2024

Employers will be required to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees. The Equality and Human Rights Commission will be given powers to enforce this duty.

Employment tribunals will have the power to uplift compensation by up to 25% for successful sexual harassment claims where an employer is found to have breached the duty to prevent sexual harassment.

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

Expected in 2025

  • One for 2025, this Act will give employees a right to up to 12 weeks’ leave and pay when their baby requires neonatal care.
  • In addition to any existing parental leave entitlements.
  • Entitlement to leave applies from day one of employment.
  • Pay entitlement mirrors statutory maternity pay.
  • During neonatal care leave, employees keep their terms and conditions (except pay) and have a right to return to the same job in most circumstances.