Employment Law Changes to expect in 2024 & beyond

Employment Law Changes to expect in 2024 & beyond

With a number of legislative changes on the horizon for 2024, we have summarised below the key pieces of legislation that you need to be aware of within your business. 

Harassment Protection

Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2020) Act

Legislation on the duty to prevent sexual harassment is expected to be in place from October 2024. Under the new law, all employers will be under a statutory duty to take reasonable steps to stop sexual harassment happening in the workplace. If reasonable steps have not been taken to prevent sexual harassment and an employee is sexually harassed and successfully brings a claim, then the Equality and Human Rights Commission can take enforcement steps, plus any successful tribunal claim will be subject to a compensation uplift of up to 25%.  

A Focus on Family

The following pieces of legislation focus on making the workplace fairer for families. Two are set to be introduced in 2024 and one in 2025.   

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

This new legislation expands the current laws protecting pregnant employees or those on, or returning from, maternity/adoption/shared parental leave facing redundancy.

Currently, before offering redundancy to an employee on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave, employers have an obligation to offer them a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists. 

Under the new legislation, this redundancy protection will be extended to include pregnant employees, from the moment they notify their employer of their pregnancy, through to 18 months after childbirth. 

This Act comes into force on 6th April 2024.  

Carer’s Leave Act

This Act, which comes into force on 6th April 2024, allows carers to take one week’s unpaid leave in any 12-month period to look after a dependant with a long-term care need, such as illness, injury, disability or old age. Leave can also be taken in individual days or half days. 

Employees taking their carer’s leave entitlement will be subject to the same employment protections that are associated with other forms of family related leave, meaning they will be protected from dismissal or any detriment as a result of having taken time off. They have the right to return to the job in which they were employed before taking a period of carer’s leave. 

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act

To ensure that parents of babies in neonatal care get the paid leave and support they need, this new act gives employees a day-one right to 12 weeks of leave if their child is receiving neonatal care. However, the right to receive neonatal care pay will require a minimum of 26 weeks’ service. Leave does not need to be taken in one block and can be taken in individual days or half days. Neonatal care must have started within 28 days of birth and last for at least seven days. The leave must be taken within 68 weeks of the child’s birth.  

This Act is expected to come into force in October 2024. 

Flexible and Predictable Working

Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act

This Act, which is expected to come into force around September 2024, introduces a new statutory right for workers (including agency and zero-hours workers) and employees to request a more predictable working pattern.  

Also covered are those on a fixed-term contract of 12 months or less, as long as they have worked at the employer for at least 26 weeks. However, given the aim of the legislation is to address the issue of ‘one-sided flexibility’ experienced by workers in the gig economy, workers may not have had to have worked continuously during that 26-week period.  

Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act

This new legislation is set to come fully into force on 6 April 2024 and will improve current flexible working rights, allowing employees to make two formal flexible working requests in a 12-month period. 

The right to make a flexible working application also becomes a day one right as of the above date. Until then employees will need 26 weeks’ continuous employment to make a request, although there is no harm in adopting the day-one right option early in your business.  

Employers will need to consult with employees before rejecting any such applications and will have only two months to consider and decide the outcome. The eight statutory grounds for rejecting a flexible working request remain unchanged. 

Holiday Pay/Work Time & TUPE

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

These regulations came into effect in January 2024. They impact holiday pay and annual leave, working time and rights/obligations under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). 

Holiday Pay & Annual Leave: 

The regulations will make rolled up holiday pay (at an accrual rate of 12.07%) lawful for workers with irregular hours or part-year workers. The aim is to make it easier for employers to calculate holiday entitlement for such workers, and to ensure that worker holiday entitlement better reflects the hours they work across a year. 

Previously, this was calculated by way of a reference period which may not be practical in many cases where hours and periods of work can be so variable. Employers will have discretion (for holiday years starting from April 2024 onwards) to choose whether to calculate holiday entitlements by way of a reference period or by applying a rate of 12.07% to the workers’ earnings during any pay period. 

Working Time:  

On working time, the regulations remove the requirement for employers to keep records relating to working hours and rest periods. However, as employers will need to demonstrate compliance with the regulations in other ways, it is not clear at present what the real impact of this change will be. The aim of these changes however is to reduce reporting requirements for employers which the government considered “time consuming”. 

TUPE:  

The regulations allow businesses with either less than 50 employees, or transfers involving less than 10 employees, to consult with employees directly, and not undertake collective consolation as part of the transfer process. This change aims to streamline the TUPE transfer process, where small transfers are taking place and are set to come into force from 1st July 2024.  

On the horizon

Another important change to plan for is the uplift in the National Minimum/Living Wage rates, which are set to increase in April 2024. These rates have already been confirmed and are available on the Gov.uk website. Alongside these changes will be an increase to statutory rates for types of parental leave, although the exact amount is yet to be confirmed.  

Recent announcements have also established that there are some important changes on the horizon for Paternity Leave, which could come into force as early as April 2024. However, the exact details of this are yet to be released.  

As a business owner, it is important to not only be aware of any new legislation, but also to dedicate time to considering the implications and practicalities that these changes may have on your organisation.  

Not only does good preparation and a proactive approach to change ensure that your business remains legally compliant, but it ensures that your employees and workers can benefit from any new entitlements and demonstrates a workplace culture of fairness and transparency.


Carly Anderson-Riley - HR Consultant at Sue Willmott HR and Careers ConsultancyCarly Anderson-Riley
– HR Consultant for Sue Willmott HR & Careers Consultancy.

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