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Employment law 2024, what’s changing?

There are several changes to employment law which employers should be aware of this year. Here is our round up of the key changes and some of the other issues on the horizon and timings to be aware of.

National Living Wage rise

From April 1, The National Living Wage rises take effect:

•  21 to 22: Current £10.18, new rate – £11.44

•  18 to 20: Current £7.49, new rate – £8.60

•  Under 18: Current £5.28, new rate – £6.40

•  Apprentices: Current £5.28, new rate – £6.40

For those aged 23 and over, the current rate is £10.42 and new rate is yet to be announced.

Family leave pay rates rise

There will also be a change to several pay rates for family leave which also comes into force from 1 April, and the rate will increase for all from £172.48 per week to £184.03.

This increase applies to statutory maternity and paternity pay, statutory adoption pay, shared parental leave and statutory bereavement pay.

Statutory sick pay rise

Also from 1 April 2024, statutory sick pay rises from £109.40 per week to £116.75.

Carer’s leave

From 6 April 2024, employees can from day one of their employment request one weeks’ unpaid leave per year to provide or arrange care for a dependent.  A dependent could include a partner, child, parent or person living in the same house as the employee and who relies on them.

Leave can be taken as a block or as partial or full days depending on the need.

Flexible working requests

Legislation which comes into force on 6 April 2024 means employees can now make two requests for flexible working instead of one in any 12-month period.  This can also be made from their first day of working with the employer rather than needing at least 26 weeks continuous employment.  The employee will no longer need to explain what effect the request might have on the employer or suggest how it might be dealt with.

Employers cannot refuse a request for flexible working unless the employee has first been consulted.  Employers will also have to make their decision within a shorter period – two months instead of three unless they agree with the employee a longer period to decide.

Tips

A law expected to come into force in July 2024 is  The Employment Allocation of  Tips Act. Employers will not have to make sure that tips are allocated fairly to all workers including agency workers which must be paid by the end of the month in which it was paid.

An employer can alternatively pay tips to an Independent  Tronc Operator which then allocate the tips to workers.  Accountants say PAYE on tips will be the responsibility of the worker and they may need reminding of this. Employers will need to have a written policy which covers how they deal with tips, how they will be allocated and record how much was received.

Pregnancy and redundancy

Still awaiting an implementation date is  The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act which was passed in May 2023.

This Act will increase the entitlement to being offered suitable, alternative employment which a vacancy exists from the date of the notification of the pregnancy for up to 18 months after the birth (or adoption).

Sexual harassment

On 26th October 2024 there will be an amendment to the Equality Act 2010 which means employers have a new duty to take reasonable steps to prevent the sexual harassment of their employees during their employment.  Employment tribunals will also have the power to increase the compensation paid by up to 25% in cases where the employers breach this duty.

Working Time Regulations, Holiday Pay and TUPE

The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and  Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023 which cover changes to holiday pay,  TUPE and working times are due to come into force in the first quarter of 2024 and there are several changes which employers should be aware of.  These include:

•  Rolled-up holiday pay for irregular hours and part-year workers.

•  Holiday accrual for irregular hours and part-year workers which is based on 12.07% of the hours they worked in the previous pay period.

•  More simplified record-keeping for daily working hours.

•  Allowing holiday to be carried over in some circumstances.

•  TUPE consultations policies for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Miscarriage Leave

One bill which has not yet made it to its second reading is the Miscarriage Leave Bill. It was hoped to introduce three days of paid leave for women who had experience baby loss before 24 weeks. Employers may want to consider their own policy on helping their employees deal with this type of devastating loss.

Employers are advised to make sure their employment policies and procedures are up to date to deal with both the imminent legislation as well as that where timings are still to be confirmed.