Employment Law Updates: Is your business ready?

Wed 20th Mar 2024
employment law updates

A raft of legislative changes to employment law will be coming into force in April 2024 which will affect you if you are an employer. These include changes to the National Living Wage, holiday rules, flexible working, carer’s leave, paternity rights, maternity and adoption rights and sick leave.

Making sure you review and update your current policies in time for these to come into force is crucial if you don’t want to fall foul of the law. Is your business ready for them?

Steph Marsh, Associate at Coodes, summarises these important employment law changes.

National Living and Minimum Wage

The first area of employment law changes concerns the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage which will be increasing from 1 April 2024:

  • Qualifying age band for National Living Wage will be extended to include workers over 21 years old
  • National Living Wage (workers over 21) will increase from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour
  • National Minimum Wage (workers aged 18-20) will increase from £7.49 to £8.60 per hour
  • Young Workers Wage (workers aged 16-17) will increase from £5.28 to £6.40 per hour
  • Apprentice rate (aged under 19 years or over 19 in 1st year of apprenticeship) will increase from £5.28 to £6.40 per hour

Holiday rules

These changes will come into force on 1 April 2024*:

  • Holiday entitlement for part-year and irregular-hours workers can revert to the 12.07% calculation
  • Rolled-up holiday pay will be allowed for part-year and irregular-hours workers

* Although the new rules only come into place for holiday years starting after 1 April, so some might have to wait until next year to see the benefit.

Flexible working

The following changes will come into force on 6 April 2024:  

  • Flexible working requests to become a day 1 right, meaning no requirement to have 26 weeks’ service
  • Employers will have a duty to consult with employees before refusing a flexible working request
  • Employees will be able to make two requests in a 12 month period, rather than the current one
  • Employers will need to make a decision within 2 months of the request being made
  • Employees no longer have the requirement to state the impact their request will have on the business, nor how the employer could mitigate it

Carer’s leave

These changes will come into force on 6 April 2024:

  • Employees have the right to one week’s unpaid carer’s leave in a 12 month period
  • The unpaid leave can be taken as a consecutive block or as individual days
  • No need for the employee to provide evidence they are a carer/need the leave

Paternity rights

Another area of employment law which will be changing on 6 April 2024 is paternity rights. These will be:

  • Paternity leave will be able to be taken at any point in the 52 weeks after birth or adoption
  • Paternity leave will not need to be taken as one period; it will be able to be split into two separate weeks

Maternity, adoption and shared parental rights

These changes will come into force on 6 April 2024

  • Enhanced redundancy protection to be given during pregnancy and for the 18 months following birth or adoption of the child
  • Proposed, but yet to be confirmed, that statutory pay (including for parental bereavement) will now be £184.03 per week

Sick leave

These changes will come into force on 7 April 2024:

  • Proposed, but yet to be confirmed, that statutory sick pay to be increased to £116.75 per week

Make sure you are ready for employment law changes

If you’re an employer, how can you prepare yourself for these changes to employment law? Firstly, you will need to review your current policies and practices to ensure that they remain compliant when the updates come into play.

If you require help with any of these workplace-related policies or have any questions on how the changes impact you, get in touch with Associate Steph Marsh from our Employment team via email or by calling 01579 324017.

Steph is also offering a free contract review of your existing contracts of employment, which will highlight any non-compliant clauses and/or amendments that should be made. If any alterations are recommended, we will provide you with a no obligation costs estimate for updating the contract, to ensure that your business is compliant with employment law.

Wed 20th Mar 2024

Steph Marsh

Head of Employment

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