Business owners and HR personnel need to be aware of changes coming into force in 2024 due to new employment legislation coming into force.

Key changes affecting employers are summarised below:

  1. Pay rate changes:

From April 2024 these will include increases to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage; Statutory Maternity Pay; Statutory Paternity Pay; Shared Parental Leave; Adoption Pay; and Statutory Sick Pay.

Employers need to make sure that staff on family related or sick leave are paid any new rates and review and update policies and staff handbooks.

  1. New legislation – The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

This year will see new legislation aimed at making the workplace fairer for families.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 comes into force on 6th April 2024 and expands the current laws protecting pregnant employees or those on, or returning from maternity, shared parental, or adoption leave facing redundancy.

This new legislation protects employees from the moment they notify their employer of pregnancy through to eighteen months after childbirth.

  1. New legislation –  Carer’s Leave Act 2023

Comes into force 6th April 2024 and introduces a legal right from day one of employment, of up to 5 days unpaid leave for employees responsible for a dependent with long term needs and for the purposes of arranging or providing care for the dependent.

“Long term” means: anyone with a condition that meets the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010, illness or injury (physical or mental) that requires or is likely to require care for more than three months, or old age.

  1. New Law ahead – The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

This legislation is expected to come into force in April 2025.

Parents of babies who require neonatal treatment will have the statutory legal right to take neonatal leave and be paid, up to a maximum of 12 weeks, for each week their child spends in neonatal care.

The right to neonatal care leave will be an entitlement from day one of employment; however, there will be a qualifying date for the pay entitlement.

  1. Protection from Harassment – The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023

This legislation comes into force this October 2024 and will amend the Equality Act 2010 to introduce a duty on employers to take “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment of their employees. This means that employers will have a new, proactive duty to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

The aim is to place greater responsibility on employers to make their workplaces safer for all staff.

We will need to see how case law develops, in determining what “reasonable steps” might be.

  1. Other anticipated 2024 changes:

Another one to look out for:

Flexible and predictable working Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

Employees will have the right to request flexible working from day one of employment (rather than after 26 weeks which is the position currently).  The Regulations implementing this particular change were before Parliament on 11 December 2023 and will come into force on 6 April 2024.

Employees will also be able to make two requests in any 12-month period, up from one. Employees will no longer have to explain the effect of the change requested, as they do currently, and employers will have to make a decision on a request within two months (rather than three).

Farleys specialise in employment law & HR for businesses. If your business requires HR & employment law advice and support in relation to any of the matters mentioned in this article, please get in touch on 0845 287 0939 or by email through our online contact form.