As the employment law landscape continues to evolve, employers face a raft of new legislation changes set to come into effect in 2024. From amendments to the Equality Act 2010 to adjustments in the minimum wage and holiday pay regulations, staying informed about these developments is crucial for businesses to ensure compliance and uphold the rights of their employees.
In this article, Croner will explore the key upcoming changes and their potential impact, providing employers with essential insights to navigate the evolving legal framework and support their workforce effectively. The following legal changes have been confirmed by the government but may not have an exact implementation date as of yet.
Working time and holiday
The requirement to keep records of daily working time is removed; the effect of emergency COVID legislation on annual leave carry-over ends; case law position on a weeks’ pay and annual leave carry-over during sickness and statutory leave committed to law.
When? 1 January 2024
Fines payable by employers who employ illegal workers will increase. The fine for a first breach is currently £15,000 but this is set to increase to £45,000 per illegal worker. For repeated breaches, the fine will increase from £20,000 up to £60,000.
When? Expected 22 January 2024
National living wage
The National Living Wage threshold will be lowered to include 21-year-olds. The rate will be £11.44 per hour. The rate for those aged 18 – 20 will be £8.60; the rate for those over school age but not yet 18 will be £6.40; the apprentice rate will be £6.40.
When? For pay reference periods starting on or after 1 April 2024
Working time and holiday
A new method in place to calculate holiday entitlement for irregular-hours workers and part-year workers. Rolled-up holiday pay will be lawful again.
When? For new leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024
Under the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, employees with defined caring responsibilities will have a right to take up to one working week of unpaid leave per 12 months in relation to those responsibilities.
When? 6 April 2024
Qualifying employees will be able to make a flexible working request from the first day of employment. Other changes to the system, including an increase to two requests per year and a requirement to deal with requests within two months rather than three months, are also expected to take place at the same time.
When? 6 April 2024 for removal of 26 week qualifying period
Redundancy and pregnancy
Under the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, pregnant employees will be entitled to enhanced treatment during a redundancy exercise from the point they tell their employer they are pregnant and continuing until 18 months after the birth. The enhanced treatment will also apply to adoption and shared parental leave arrangements.
When? 6 April 2024
Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £116.75 per week; Statutory Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Shared Parental/Parental Bereavement Pay will increase to £184.03 per week.
When? Start of April 2024
Transfer of undertakings
The requirement to consult with elected representatives, where none exist, on a transfer for businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and for businesses of any size when a transfer affects fewer than 10 employees, will be removed.
When? 1 July 2024
Hospitality, leisure and service employers, under the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023, will be required to fairly allocate tips to staff in line with a statutory code of practice, and have a policy explaining allocation.
When? Expected 1 July 2024
Neonatal care leave
Under the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023, parents of babies who are admitted to hospital before 28 days old and for at least one week will get a maximum of 12 weeks leave, paid at the statutory rate, in addition to maternity/paternity leave.
When? Expected October 2024 at the earliest
A duty requiring employers to proactively prevent sexual harassment will be introduced. Employers will have to take “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment in their organisation.
When? October 2024
Stable and predictable contacts
Workers with unpredictable working hours, or a fixed-term contract of less than 12 months, will have a right to request a more stable and predictable contract after 26 weeks of service.
When? Expected Autumn 2024
Pension auto-enrolment rules will be extended so those aged under 22 are within the scope of the scheme and the lower earnings threshold will be removed.
When? During 2024
These changes have been proposed but have not yet been finalised. This means they may or may not happen.
Fire and re-hire
A new statutory code of practice on "fire and re-hire" will be introduced. It will set out the expected procedure for employers to follow when contemplating dismissals for employees who do not agree to changes to their terms and conditions.
The Bullying and Respect at Work Bill proposes to introduce a statutory definition of bullying and the ability for employees to bring a standalone claim for bullying in a tribunal.
Gender pay gap
Regulatory exemptions from requirements such as gender pay gap reporting will be extended to businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
GDPR will be replaced with a ‘common sense’ data protection system.
Legislation will be introduced to make significant changes to paternity leave, allowing employees to take it within the first year after the birth of the baby, divide the leave into two blocks, and give 4 weeks’ notice of the dates on which leave is to be taken.
The duration of post-termination noncompete clauses will be limited to three months.
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