Legislative changes coming into force in 2024

Catherine Hare
Catherine Hare

Published: December 13th, 2023

7 min read

It is worth noting that there will be significant changes to employment law and HR in 2024 as a result of various pieces of legislation which are expected to come into force. The following gives a brief overview of the changes which are expected:

The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023

Changes to holiday pay calculations, TUPE and the record keeping requirements under the Working Time Regulations. Expected to come into force on the 1st January 2024 (although some provisions will only become effective after the start of the leave year on or after the 1st April 2024.)

The Carer's Leave Act 2023

The Carer's Leave Regulations 2024 have now been laid before Parliament, setting out the details of the Carer's Leave Act. The new statutory scheme will apply in relation to employees who give notice of an intention to take carer's leave on or after the 6th April 2024 and this will be a day one right. It is expected that these rights will come into effect on the 6th April 2024.

An employee will be entitled to take one week of unpaid carer's leave in a 12 month period. The employee will be entitled to take carer's leave where they have a dependant with a long-term care need and "wants to be absent from work to provide or arrange care for that dependant".

The Carer's Leave Act contains a definition of "dependant", which is a person who:

(i)are a spouse, civil partner, child or parent of the employee,

(ii)live in the same household as the employee, otherwise than by reason of being the employee's boarder, employee, lodger or tenant, or

(iii)reasonably rely on the employee to provide or arrange care,

A "long term care need" is also defined in the Carer's Leave Act as if:

(i)they have an illness or injury (whether physical or mental) that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months,

(ii)they have a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, or

(iii)they require care for a reason connected with their old age.

The carer's leave can be taken in half days and need not be taken on consecutive days. The maximum period of carer's leave an employee can take is one continuous week.

The notice requirements to take such leave will be twice as many days as the period of leave requested in advance of the earliest day specified in the notice. This does not have to be writing.

An employer cannot require an employee to supply evidence in relation to a request for carer's leave before granting the leave, so effectively an employee can self-certify for their period of absence.

There will be a right for an employer to postpone (but not deny) carer's leave if they reasonably consider that the operation of the business could be unduly disrupted if the employee took carer's leave during the period identified in the notice. In this situation an employer must agree to permit the employee to take a period of carer's leave of the same duration on a date determined by the employer after consulting with the employee, which must be no later than a one month after the earliest day or part day of the employee's request for carer's leave.

Employees will be protected from detriment and dismissal because they take, or seek to take, carer's leave or the employer believed the employee was likely to take carer's leave.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

These draft Regulations which will bring this Act into operation have now been laid before Parliament. The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act extends the current provisions contained in the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 which state that parents who are on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave should be offered first refusal of any suitable alternative employment which may be available in a redundancy situation.

The proposed extension to the protection will be as follows:

Maternity: The protected period will start when an employee tells their employer about their pregnancy and will end 18 months from the expected week of childbirth, unless the employee has informed the employer of the date of the birth of the child and in that case the protected period ends 18 months after the date of birth of the child.

Adoption: The additional protected period ends 18 months after the placement of the child.

Shared parental leave: For those taking 6 weeks or more consecutive weeks of shared parental leave and have not taken maternity or adoption leave, the additional protected period ends 18 months after the date of birth of the child. The protection will not apply if the employee is otherwise protected under the maternity and adoption provisions above.

When will this come into force?

These are only draft Regulations so are subject to change. However, as it stands these will come into force on the 6th April 2024 and will apply as follows:

The extension to the protected period to cover pregnancy applies when the employer is informed of the pregnancy on or after the 6th April 2024;

The extension to cover the period of time after leave has been taken will apply to any maternity or adoption leave ending on, or after, 6 April 2024;

In the case of shared parental leave, this will apply to any SPL where the first day of that period of leave is on or after the 6th April 2024.

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

This is expected to come into force in 2025 when the scheduling of the necessary statutory instruments has taken place. This will provide a day one right for employees to take up to 12 weeks leave where a neonate (child who is 28 days old or younger) is admitted to hospital for care for a continuous period of 7 days or more. There will also be a right to Statutory Neonatal Pay where the employee meets service and minimum earnings criteria

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

This is expected to come into force in April 2024 and will enable an employee to make two flexible working requests in any 12 month period, require an employer to consult with the employee before rejecting their flexible working request, make a decision within 2 months of the request and there will no longer be a requirement for a employee to set out a business case in support of their request. It remains the case that a flexible working request can be lawfully refused by the employer on one or more statutory grounds. The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 have now been laid before Parliament which will make the right to request flexible working a day one right and will apply to any flexible working requests made on or after the 6th April 2024.

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023

Expected to come into force in May 2024 and will regulate how employers allocate tips among workers, with an ongoing obligation on employers to ensure that workers receive tips, gratuities and service charges in full.

Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

This is expected to take effect on the 18th September 2024 and will enable a worker to apply to their employer for a change in terms and conditions of employment if there is a lack of predictability in relation to the work that the worker does for the employer, the change relates to the worker's work pattern and the worker's purpose in applying for the change is to get a more predictable work pattern.

The Workers Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023

This Act amends the Equality Act 2010 to:

Introduce a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees.

Give employment tribunals the power to uplift sexual harassment compensation by up to 25% where an employer is found to have breached the new duty to prevent sexual harassment.

It is expected that this will take effect from October 2024.

For further information please contact Catherine Hare

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