Important employment law updates coming in 2024: What you need to know

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For any business, it’s important to keep up to date with developments in employment law. Legislation and regulations are changing all the time and it can be very easy to overlook something that will have a significant effect on your business and the people who work there.

So, what can we expect for 2024?


Changes coming into affect in April

As it’s the start of the new financial year, April will be a particularly busy month and planning in advance is crucial to ensure you are ready for the changes.

From 1st April, there will be an increase in the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates, as is the case every April. The increases can be seen here .

From 6th April, the Carer’s Leave Regulations 2023 will allow employees to take up to one week of unpaid leave per year to provide – or arrange – care for a dependant with a long-term care need.

From 6th April, the Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 extend existing requirements that apply to employers when redundancy situations arise where an employee is on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, so that those requirements can also apply during pregnancy and for a period of time after that leave has ended.

From 6th April, there is no longer a qualifying period of 26 weeks’ continuous employment for workers to be able to make a flexible working request. This will now be a Day One right.

From 6th April, ACAS will update its Code of Practice on Requests for Flexible Working to:

(a) provide guidance on consulting with an employee when their flexible working request cannot be met and discussing any potential modifications to the request with the employee;

(b) state that formal meetings following the acceptance of a flexible working request are no longer required;

(c) provide an extended list of categories of companions allowed to accompany an employee to a request meeting (although there is no statutory right to accompaniment), and

(d) recommend that all organisations of any size ensure that a different manager deals with a flexible working request appeal.

We have already mentioned the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage but other rates are also increasing. On 6th April, the rate of Statutory Sick Pay will increase from £109.40 to £116.75 per week.

From 7th April, the rates of Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Shared Parental Pay and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay will increase from £172.48 to £184.03 per week. The rate of maternity allowance will also increase from £172.48 to £184.03 per week from 8th April.


Changes coming later in the year

With April out of the way, it’s time to look to the summer, when planned amendments to employment law are on the horizon.

For employers in the hospitality industry, it’s worth noting that on 1st July, the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act will be updated to make sure that tips, gratuities and service charges paid by customers are allocated to workers.

For TUPE transfers that take place on or after 1 July 2024, small businesses with less than 50 employees (and businesses of any size who are transferring fewer than 10 employees) will be able to consult directly with affected employees (if there are no existing employee representatives already in place).

Possibly in July/August, the Employment Rights Act 1996 will be amended to allow employees to make two requests for flexible working per year (rather than one). They will no longer have to explain the effect of the request on the business and how that might be dealt with. Employers will have to respond to requests within two months (rather than three) and will have to consult with employees before rejecting a request.

Planned for possible implementation in September/October, the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 means that workers and agency workers will be given the right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work.

Something significant for all employers to consider is happening in October. On 26th, the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 will impose a duty on employers to ‘take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment’ of employees.

The Act gives employment tribunals the power to increase compensation by up to 25% where an employer is found to have breached that duty.

These are the changes that we are aware of so far. There may be others, but we will keep on top of them and let you know what’s happening and what they mean for you, so you have plenty of time to prepare.