New Family Friendly Rights from Day One of Employment

By Abbie McDonald

Trainee Solicitor

In a significant shift towards affording employees with additional employment rights, several new family-friendly regulations were laid before Parliament on 11 December 2023. Employees are set to receive these rights from their first day of employment and they are due to come into effect on 6 April 2024.

The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023

These regulations remove the requirement that an employee must have 26 weeks’ service in order to be able to make a request for flexible working. This change makes the right to request flexible working a day one right and will come into effect for flexible working requests made on or after 6 April 2024.

Flexible working is a broad term and can relate to working hours or pattern including part-time, term-time, compressed hours, adjusting start and finish times, or job sharing. It can also include flexibility over where someone works, whether that be from home or an alternative office shortening their commute.

The Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024

These regulations extend the period of special protection from redundancy for employees who are on maternity leave, adoption leave or those on shared parental leave.

The period protected from redundancy for those on maternity leave will include the entire pregnancy, as well as 18 months from the first day of the estimated week of childbirth.

Adoptive parents will be protected from redundancy from 18 months from placement for adoption, and for shared parental leave the protected period will be 18 months from birth, provided the parent has taken at least six consecutive weeks of shared parental leave.

The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024

These Regulations introduce a scheme under which employees can apply for up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave, in any 12-month period. This is also a day one right and applies to employees who have a dependant (e.g. child or parent) with a long-term care need and those who want to be absent from work to provide or arrange care for that dependant.

Employees will need to give their employer notice in writing of at least twice the length of the period of leave requested.

Such employees are protected from detriment and dismissal because they take, or seek to take, carer’s leave.

If you have any queries relating to the new family friendly rights please do contact our specialist Employment Team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form for more information and a member of our Team will be very happy to assist.