New Employment Law Changes

Listed Under: Blog


Several employment law changes came into effect on 6th April 2024, to expand the rights of employees relating to flexible working, paid and unpaid leave, and protection from redundancy during parental leave. These changes apply to England, Scotland, and Wales, but not Northern Ireland where employment law is devolved. If you are an employer or an employee, see how these changes could affect you.

Flexible Working Changes:

Under the Employment Rights (Flexible Working) Act 2023, employees can now make two requests for flexible working per year instead of one. The deadline for employers to respond to the request has been reduced from three months to two. Employers must now explain the reasons for denying any request, and employees no longer need to explain the impact of their request. However, the reasons employers can use to deny requests remain the same. Through a separate piece of secondary legislation, employees will also be able to make such requests from their first day of employment, without having to wait the 26-week qualifying period.

Increase in the Minimum Wage:

The National Minimum/Living Wage for workers over 21 will rise by over a pound per hour from £10.42 to £11.44.

Changes to holiday entitlement for irregular hour workers and part-year workers:

For workers who work irregular hours and part year workers whose leave years start on or after 1 April 2024, there will be a a new accrual method for their holiday entitlement in that holidays will be calculated as 12.07% of actual hours worked in a pay period.

Carer’s Leave:

Employees are now entitled to one week of unpaid leave per year if they have caring responsibilities. This applies to any employees caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or other dependent who needs care due to a disability, old age, or any illness or injury likely to require at least three months of care. The leave entitlement is available from the first day of employment with no qualifying period. This entitlement was created by the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 and the associated Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024.

Increased Protection Against Redundancy for Pregnant Employees:

Employees taking certain types of parental leave now have protection from redundancy for at least 18 months. This protection means that if their role is made redundant, their employer must give them first refusal of any other vacancies. However, they can still be made redundant if no appropriate vacancy is available. Previously, employees only had this protection during their period of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave. Protection now begins on the day the employer is first notified of the employee’s pregnancy and ends 18 months after the date of the child’s birth. These protections also now extend to 18 months after the date of adoption for parents taking adoption leave or 18 months after the child’s birth in cases where a parent is taking at least six weeks of shared parental leave. These changes were made by the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, and the Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024.

More Flexibility for Paternity Leave:

Employees taking statutory paternity leave (and pay, if they are eligible) can now split their two weeks’ entitlement into two separate one-week blocks, rather than having to take them both together. They can also take their two weeks at any time within the first year after their child’s birth, rather than within only the first eight weeks after the birth as previously required. Employees now have to give employers 28 days’ notice for each week of leave, down from 15 weeks’ notice previously, before taking leave. However, they still need to give notice of their upcoming entitlement 15 weeks before the expected date of birth. These changes were made by the Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024.

Further Changes Due Later in 2024:

Other changes are expected to come into force later in 2024, including a new law and code of practice on how employers must distribute tips and service charges to their workforce. The Government expects this to come into force from July 2024. A new code of practice on dismissal and re-engagement (‘fire and rehire’) is expected to come into force by summer 2024. A new law creating a right to request more predictable working patterns for eligible workers is expected to come into force from around September 2024, and a new law requiring employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees will come into force from October 2024.

If you would like help with an employment matter please contact Joseph Hendron in our Llandudno office on 01492 874774.