Spring 2024 employment law round-up

Patrick Glencross

Senior Associate

View bio

March 7, 2024

Categories Employment Law Updates

This year is a busy one for incoming and pending employment legislation. There are several important changes that employers need to know about, in addition to the usual annual increases to statutory rates.

Record keeping under working time regulations

From 1 January 2024, the rules requiring employers to record their employees’ daily working hours have been relaxed. Instead, employers need to keep records which are sufficient to show compliance with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Increased flexibility in taking paternity leave

The changes to paternity leave apply where the expected week of birth or the date for placement for adoption is on or after 6 April 2024.Following the birth or adoption of a child, an eligible father or partner can take one or two weeks’ statutory paternity leave. The rules have become more flexible, allowing the employee to take the leave in two blocks of one week rather than a single block, and allowing leave to be taken at any time during the first year, rather than only within the first eight weeks after birth or adoption. Employees will need to give notice 28 days in advance of each period of leave, rather than by 15 weeks before the expected week of birth. The notice provisions are unchanged for adopting parents.

Changes to law relating to holidays

The Government has introduced important changes to the law governing holidays and holiday pay. These changes are intended to simplify the rules for workers in two categories: “irregular hours workers” and “part-year workers”. An irregular hours worker is someone, such as a casual worker, whose number of paid hours is variable. A part-year worker is someone who is required to work for only part of the year and has parts of the year when they are not required to work and not paid; for example employees who are engaged to work term-time only.

The key changes introduced by the new rules for workers in these two categories are as follows.

Calculation of holiday entitlement

For leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024, holiday entitlement for these workers will accrue at the rate of 12.07% (or a higher percentage if they are entitled to more than the statutory minimum) of the number of hours worked in the previous pay period.

Rolled-up holiday pay

Employers of part-year workers and irregular-hours workers will be able to opt to pay them rolled-up holiday pay; paying holiday pay as an uplift of 12.07% to normal pay, rather than calculating and paying holiday pay at the time the worker takes holiday. This also applies in relation to leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024. The practice of rolled-up holiday pay was previously held to be contrary to EU law since it could deter workers from actually taking holiday.

Extension of National Living Wage

From 1 April 2024, the National Living Wage, the highest band of the minimum wage, will be extended to worker aged 21 and 22, not just those aged 23 and over.

Increases in statutory pay rates

Employers should prepare for the annual increases in the following rates:

  • National minimum wage from 1 April 2024:
    • apprentices from £5.28 to £6.40 per hour;
    • workers aged 16-17 from £5.28 to £6.40 per hour;
    • workers aged 18-20 from £7.49 to £8.60 per hour; and
    • national living wage – now for workers from age 21 and over, from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour.
  • Statutory sick pay from 6 April 2024 increases from £109.40 to £116.75 per week.
  • Family-related statutory pay from 7 April 2024, the rates of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, statutory adoption pay, statutory shared parental pay and statutory parental bereavement pay increase from £172.48 to £184.03 per week.
  • Redundancy pay: from 6 April, the limit on a week’s pay for calculating redundancy pay increases from £643 to £700.

Enhanced redundancy protections

A woman on maternity leave who is made redundant is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy in priority to other employees. From 6 April 2024, this priority status for redeployment will be extended to any employee who:

  • is pregnant and has told their employer that they are pregnant;
  • has returned to work from maternity leave, adoption leave, or shared parental leave and the baby was born or placed for adoption within the previous 18 months; or
  • has told their employer that they were pregnant and has had a miscarriage within the previous two weeks.

Extended right to request flexible working

From 6 April 2024, employees will be able to ask to work flexibly from the first day of employment, rather than needing 26 weeks’ service. Also coming into force on 6 April 2024 are a number of changes to the procedural requirements. These include allowing an employee to make two requests to work flexibly in a 12-month period; previously only one was allowed. Employers will have to consult with employees about their request and reach a decision within two months, reduced from three. An updated Acas statutory code on requests for flexible working is also due to come into force in April 2024.

New right to carer’s leave

From 6 April 2024, employees with a dependant with a long-term care need can ask for one week’s unpaid leave every 12 months to care for that dependant. This is a right from the first day of employment. Employees must give notice of a minimum of three days or at least twice the amount of notice as the period of leave, if longer. The leave can be taken flexibly for any period between half a day and one week, subject to the employee following requirements to give notice to the employer. In some circumstances, employers can postpone the leave for up to one month.

TUPE consultation changes

For transfers taking place from 1 July 2024, the option to consult directly with staff, rather than inviting the election employee representatives, will be more widely available. Direct consultation with affected employees can take place if the organisation has fewer than 50 employees, or if fewer than 10 employees will be affected by the transfer regardless of the size of the organisation. Currently this option is only available to employers with fewer than 10 employees.

Duty to prevent sexual harassment of employees

From October 2024, employers will be under a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent the sexual harassment of their staff during the course of their employment. This duty will sit alongside existing protections from sexual harassment under the Equality Act 2010. Tribunals will be able to increase compensation by up to 25 per cent if an employer breaches this duty.

Other changes expected in 2024

A few other changes are expected but the date has not yet been confirmed:

  • the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 will require employers to give all tips to workers without deductions and to ensure tips are shared fairly between staff in accordance with a new statutory code. This is expected to come into force in July 2024.
  • the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 will give greater rights to vulnerable workers. Agency workers, zero-hours workers and other workers with variable hours will be able to request more predictable terms and conditions, include their working pattern.
  • the draft Statutory Code of Practice on ‘fire and rehire’ dismissals will be finalised following consultation and published in spring 2024.

How we can help

This is the most significant year of legislative change we have seen for a long time. We can help you update your contracts, policies and procedures so that your business is fully prepared for these changes. For further information contact Senior Associate, Patrick Glencross, in Furley Page employment team on 01227 763939.


Please note: This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice.