It’s that time of year when we consider forthcoming employment legislation changes from April 2024. Being aware of the changes ensures you can prepare for them and protect your business from any legal claims. Here’s a rundown of the changes.
Payroll costs – National Minimum Wage rates
Inflation continues to be a key issue for many employers who are facing pressure to increase wages. Whilst there is no legal requirement to increase pay to address issues with high inflation rates, the National Minimum Wage/living rates are going up on 1 April 2024, therefore if your pay is based on minimum wage rates per hour, you will need to implement these changes:
|Up to 31/3/2024
|21 and over
|£10.18 (£10.42 for 23+)
|18 – 20
|Apprentices under 19 (or over 19 but in year 1 of apprenticeship) and under 18s
Statutory pay rates – From April 2024
Family friendly leave
The rates of Statutory Maternity, Adoption, Paternity, Shared Parental and Parental Bereavement pay will increase to £184.03 per week.
Statutory Sick pay
The rate of Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £116.75 per week.
Statutory redundancy payments
With effect from 6th April 2023, the statutory redundancy pay cap will increase, although the new rate is not widely available yet. Even so it’s important to ensure you get up to date compensation information for anyone who leaves due to redundancy on or after this date. You will need to calculate their redundancy pay on the new rate. If the redundant employee’s normal weekly rate is under the new figure, you should calculate their redundancy compensation based on their actual weekly pay rate.
Rolled-up holiday pay
With effect from the holiday year starting in April 2024 and thereafter, workers who work irregular or part year hours can have their holiday pay rolled in to their pay, rather than accruing actual holiday which has to be taken as leave. The method of calculating the holiday pay will be 12.07%. Employers should note this only applies to those employees who work irregular or part-year hours. Other employees with set hours (either part or full-time) will accrue paid holiday which must be taken as paid time off.
Flexible Working Requests
With effect from 6th April 2024, employees will be able to make a flexible working request from day one of their employment, removing the current 26 weeks’ service requirement. Employees will be able to make two requests a year (currently only one request is possible) and they will no longer be required to set out the likely effects on the business of the change. Employers will be compelled to consult with the employee before rejecting a request and the time allowed for the whole process, including appeal, will be reduced from three to two months.
Statutory Carer’s Leave
Statutory Carer’s Leave will give carers a minimum of one week’s unpaid leave per year to care for a dependant with a long-term care needs, from day one of their employment.
This will be a day one right for employees and is flexible, however it’s likely advance notice will need to be provided, and it may be possible to postpone requests in a similar way to Unpaid Parental Leave.
This right will be in place from April 2024.
Upcoming changes to be confirmed
2024 is potentially going to be another busy year for changes in employment law. This is a summary of what may be in the pipeline when it comes to employment legislation changes from April 2024. In some cases there are no firm dates for implementation however, it pays to be ahead of the changes and consider how they may affect you and your business in advance of the bills being passed in to law.
An amendment to the entitlement for fathers and partners to take Paternity Leave has recently been proposed. If approved fathers and partners will be able to take their Paternity Leave in two split weeks, should they wish, and the timeframe for taking the leave will be extended from 56 days after the birth, to 12 months after the birth, offering more flexibility to new parents.
If passed this amendment will be effective from 24th March 2024.
Redundancy Protection for Pregnancy and Family Leave
This protection extends the right to be redeployed during pregnancy (including if a miscarriage is suffered), maternity and family leave for 18 months after the start of that leave. These are important considerations during an employee’s family/maternity leave and in restructuring or redundancy exercises. Employers who breach this protection will risk claims for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination (with uncapped compensation).
This is expected to be in place from April 2024.
Employment Allocation of Tips Act
This ban will make it unlawful for employers to withhold tips from staff. In addition, employers must also have a written policy related to tip allocation in place. This will apply to tips, gratuities and service charges given during the previous month.
This is expected to be in place from July 2024.
Statutory Neonatal Care Leave
This statutory leave will allow parents whose babies need hospital neonatal care to take 12 weeks’ paid leave. This is in addition to their statutory maternity, shared parental or paternity leave. The right will:
- be available from day one of employment;
- apply to parents with babies who are admitted to hospital before they are 28 days old;
- apply to babies who need to stay in hospital for 7 days continuously or more.
This is expected to be in place from April 2025.
Right to request more predictable working patterns
Employees and workers (including agency and zero hours workers) will have the right to formally request a more stable working pattern. In addition, this right will also be available to those on fixed-term contracts of less than a year. This right will apply after 26 weeks of continuous employment.
Employers will only be able to refuse requests if there is a legal reason for refusing the request.
This is expected to be in place ‘in due course’.
Proactive duty to prevent sexual harassment
This will require employers to have proactive measures in place to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. As a result employers will be legally responsible if no measures are in place. And that responsibility applies, regardless of whether or not an incident has occurred. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in increased compensation of up to 25%.
This is expected to be in place from October 2024.
Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) Act 2023
This Act brings in changes to the Automatic Enrolment populations and employers who use Qualifying Earnings to calculate contributions:
- Lowering the age criteria for auto-enrolment from 22 to 18 years of age
- Removing the Lower Earnings Limit of £6,240 if you’re using qualifying earnings
There is no indication at this point when this change will come in to effect.
If you’re concerned about what these employment legislation changes from April 2024 mean for your business and need help reviewing your policies, please get in touch with Helpful HR.