Employment Law – Key Developments for 2024

By Rachel Davis

Principal Associate

There are several legislative changes for employment law in 2024 which seek to make the workplace fairer.

Here’s a summary of what to expect over the coming months:

Flexible Working

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 will come into force in April 2024 giving employees the right to request flexible working from day one of employment (currently employees need 26-weeks’ service).

Employees will be able to make two requests for flexible working in any 12-month period, instead of one. Employees will no longer have to explain the impact on the business of their request. Employers will have two months to respond and must consult with employees before reaching a decision.  The reasons the employer can give for refusing a request remain unchanged.

Family-friendly Protection from Redundancy

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 will come into force in April 2024. 

The Act introduces new safeguards for those who are pregnant or have recently returned from parental leave, giving them priority status for suitable alternative roles (if there are any) in a redundancy situation, over other employees.

Under the current law, employees on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave already have this special protection in a redundancy situation.  

The Act extends this priority status to pregnant employees from the time they inform their employer of their pregnancy, through to 18 months after childbirth.  For those taking adoption leave, the priority status extends to 18 months from the date of placement.

Carer’s Leave

The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 will come into force in April 2024 and will implement changes for employees who have a dependent with a long-term care need.

Employees will have the right to apply for unpaid carer’s leave from day one of employment. Employees can apply for up to one week of unpaid leave in any 12-month period. Leave may be taken in full days or half days up to a block of one week.  

Employees will be protected from detriment or dismissal because they take or request to take carer’s leave.

Protection from Harassment

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 will come into force in October 2024 and will impose a duty on employers to take “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment of employees, instead of the current duty to take “all reasonable steps”. 

Tribunals will have the power to uplift a successful claimant’s compensation by up to 25% if an employer is found to have breached this duty.

Holiday Pay, Working Time and TUPE

The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023 will impact holiday pay, working time and rights under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). 

In an attempt to simplify holiday calculations, the Regulations amend how holiday entitlement is to be calculated for part-year and irregular hours workings. The Regulations permit the use of rolled-up holiday pay for part-year workers and irregular hours workers providing it is calculated at 12.07%, paid at the same time as normal remuneration and evidenced on the worker’s payslip.

The Regulations also remove the requirement for employers to keep detailed records relating to workers’ working hours and rest periods, which was disproportionate to the cost and administrative burden.

The Regulations allow businesses with less than 50 employees, or transfers involving less than 10 employees, to consult with employees directly instead of undertaking collective consultation. This change applies to transfers which take place on or after 1 July 2024.

We encourage employers to actively prepare for these changes, review their policies and communicate changes to their workforce in good time in order to reduce legal risk to the business and promote a culture of fairness and wellbeing in the workplace.

If you need any advice or assistance in implementing these changes, please contact our Employment Team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of the team will be happy to assist you.