2024 is shaping up to a be a year of unprecedented employment law change.
Each of these Acts (which are now law) will be supported by regulations which will set out in detail the rules employers have to follow, often with very little notice before they come into force.
So, let’s get into it – here’s an overview of what to expect in 2024.
1 January 2024
Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023
These regulations were published on 7 November and are expected to be passed soon.
• For the first time in UK legislation, the regulations formalise lots of the existing principles on the calculation of holiday pay and rights to carry over holidays. This part of the regulations will come into force on 1 January 2024.
• The regulations will also make it lawful for employers to pay rolled-up holiday pay for irregular hour and part-year employees (which is when you include an amount for holiday pay in an employee’s hourly rate). This will come into force for businesses with holiday years starting from 1 April 2024. If your holiday year starts in January, it will apply from January 2025.
• The regulations also change the rules for holiday accrual for irregular and part-year workers. These workers will now accrue holiday at the rate of 12.07% of the total hours worked in that pay period. This accrue-as-you-go approach will apply to the whole duration of their employment, not just the first 12 months.
The Acts below are now law. We’re waiting for the government to publish the regulations that will explain how these rights will operate and when they’ll be enforced. All are expected to come into force from 1 April (it’s been announced that flexible working will come in on 6 April).
Carers Leave Act 2023
This introduces a new day-one right for employees to take up to one week of unpaid leave to provide or arrange for care for dependants with long-term care needs.
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023
This Act (together with changes the government has already committed to) will make the right to request flexible working a day-one right for employees. They will be able to make two applications every 12 months (it’s only one right now) and you’ll have to conclude the process within two months (rather than three months). You’ll also be under a new obligation to consult with employees to consider alternative options before rejecting a request.
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023
This extends the current special protection employees have against redundancy when they’re on maternity leave to pregnant employees and employees returning from maternity leave (covering the first six months of their return). It means that if their role is selected for redundancy during this time, they get priority over other candidates for any suitable alternative roles.
Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023
This introduces a legal obligation on employers to allocate all tips to workers. It also introduces obligations to keep detailed records on tip allocation and gives workers the right to request this information.
These Acts are already law, and the government has announced they will come into force in October 2024.
Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023
This introduces a new legal obligation on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will have enforcement powers in relation to this duty and employers found to be in breach will face a 25% increase in damages at tribunal.
Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023
This gives workers who have an uncertain pattern in terms of the hours or times they work (or who are on a fixed term of less than 12 months) the right to request a more stable working pattern.
Other measures expected in 2024 (but with unclear implementation dates)
The government has also committed to introducing the following measures – some of which may come into force as early as April 2024.
– Reform of the rules around paternity leave – when it can be taken, how it can be taken and the notice required.
– Code of Practice on Fire and Rehire – new rules on terminating employment and offering employment on different terms (including a 25% uplift in damages for breach of the rules).
– A ban on non-compete clauses lasting more than three months.
– The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 – this Act introduces a new day-one right for employees to take up to 12 weeks neonatal leave (and to receive pay if eligibility criteria is met). Although this became law earlier this summer, it is unlikely to come into force until October at the earliest (and possibly April 2025).
Remember, we’re here to protect your business
Rest assured that, if you’re an HR & Employment Law client, we’ll review your contracts, policies and handbooks and make sure they reflect the changes, and communicate the regulations to you as soon as they’re released. You’ll need to communicate changes to employees and train managers on the new obligations and practices, which we can also support you with.
If you have any questions about this or any other HR & Employment Law matter, please call your 24/7 HR advice line on 0345 844 4848.