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UK Employment Law Updates in 2024

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Employment law changes can have significant implications for businesses in several ways and, as always, there are a raft of changes due in April.

Business owners need to be aware of these changes and may need to consider how these changes in employment law will impact their long-term strategic goals and objectives.

Employment Law Updates in 2024

A significant amendment to be aware of this year are the rights of employees from day one of their employment.

“There are several legislative changes on the horizon this year in the area of employment law which seek to make the workplace a fairer place and look to promote equality,” said Senior Associate Solicitor, Carley Dhand.

“Employers need to be aware that staff will have more rights and a failure to comply with employment laws can result in legal consequences such as fines, penalties, potential Tribunal cases and of course damage to the company's reputation. Therefore, it's crucial business owners stay informed about changes in employment law to mitigate legal risk,” warned Carley.

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

As the law currently stands, employees who are on maternity/adoption/shared parental leave have enhanced protection rights in redundancy situations. This includes the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy over other employees at risk of redundancy.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2003 will come into effect on 6 April 2024 and expands protection to include pregnant employees from the point at which they advise their employer of their expected pregnancy, through to 18 months after childbirth (an additional protected period).

This new legislation will apply to employees whose maternity and adoption leave ended on or after 6 April 2024 and to a period of 6 consecutive weeks shared parental leave starting on or after 6 April 2024.

“Presently, an employer’s failure to offer suitable alternative employment (where vacancies exist) to protected employees runs the risk of a claim for automatically unfair dismissal and possible unlawful discrimination being brought against them. As a result of this legislative change, employers will need to tread very carefully when handling a redundancy process and consider their selection processes for redundancies,” advised Carley.

Carer’s Leave Act 2023

Also coming into effect on April 6 is the Carer’s Leave Act 2023.  This allows a new entitlement of one week of unpaid leave per year for employees who care for dependants with long term needs. This right to leave will be available to all employees from day one of employment.

Long term needs

“Long term needs” is defined as:

  • Anyone who is disabled for the purposes of satisfying a ‘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
  • Old age

Essentially, the right will be for those who want to be absent from work to provide or arrange care for a dependant.

As with other types of statutory leave, employees are protected from detriment and dismissal because they take, or seek to take, carer’s leave (or the employer believes they are likely to do so). During the period of carer's leave, an employee is entitled to the benefit of all their terms and conditions, (save for remuneration), and will remain subject to all their typical responsibilities.

“With this in mind, employers will need to ensure that their policies and procedures are up to date to reflect this new right,” said Carley.

Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

Also coming into effect this April is the right to make a flexible working request from day one of employment for all employees, there will no longer be a requirement for employees to have at least 26 weeks’ of continuous service. In addition, when making a flexible working request, employees will no longer be required to explain what effect their requested change may have on the employer.

Moreover, employees will be able to submit two requests (as opposed to one) in any 12-month period. The time in which employers must have to respond to such a request will also be reduced to two months (currently three).

“It is noteworthy to add that the introduction of such changes does not lead to an automatic right to have flexible working but rather instead allows new employees to be able to submit a flexible working request from day one of their employment.

Employers will still, however, be able to refuse a flexible working request for one of six statutory grounds,” added Carley.

“Overall, staying informed about employment law changes and proactively addressing their impact is essential for business owners to ensure legal compliance, mitigate risks, and foster a positive and productive work environment.”

Changes to Holidays and Holiday Pay

Effective from 1 April 2024, businesses will now be able to pay atypical workers rolled up holiday. Prior to this, this practise was unlawful due to concerns that it would effectively disincentivise workers from taking their holidays. However, from April 2024, rolled-up holiday will be re-introduced meaning that employers can now pay rolled up holiday pay for irregular hour workers (such as those on zero-hour contracts) and part year workers.

The Government has also reversed the Supreme Court decision in Harpur Trust v Brazel by introducing a pro-rata method of calculating annual leave entitlement for those who work irregular hours or are part-year workers.  For holiday years beginning on or after April 2024, holiday entitlement can be calculated by taking 12.07% of the hours worked in the pay period.

TUPE Consultation

For any TUPE transfers that take place on or after 1 July 2024, all small businesses (with less than 50 employees or a business of any size undertaking a small transfer of fewer than 10 employees) will now be able to consult directly with affected employees if there are no existing employee representatives.

Changes to Non-Compete Clauses

Legislation is expected in Autumn 2024 in which a limit to non-compete clauses will be applied. This limit will be 3 months. It however remains uncertain on how these changes will affect existing non-complete clauses and whether this introduction will effectively make existing agreements ‘void’.

Later this year an amendment of the Equality Act 2010 will be introduced.

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

In October 2024 the Equality Act 2010 will be amended to introduce a duty on employers to take positive “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment of their employees in the workplace. This means that employers will have a new, proactive duty to prevent sexual harassment during the course of their employment. This effectively places a greater responsibility on employers to ensure that the workplace is safe and free from any form of sexual harassment.

Simply having anti-harassment policies and routine training will not suffice, and businesses will need to implement clear policies for raising and dealing with concerns.

Employer liability for third party harassment is not being introduced at this stage.

As Carley said, “The advice to businesses is to have a bit of spring clean of policies and procedures, make sure you understand and implement the new legal requirements, provide any necessary training to HR and employees, and ensure compliance with new regulations.”

“Employment law changes can affect various aspects of business operations, including hiring practices, employee compensation, working conditions, and termination procedures. Business owners may need to adjust their practices and policies to remain compliant with the law while maintaining operational efficiency. Essentially, it is all good practice and can help to promote a positive work environment, enhance your businesses reputation, attract top talent, and improve employee morale and productivity.”

“Conversely, non-compliance or negative workplace practices can damage the company's brand and competitiveness in the market, so it pays to get good advice and make sure you’re ahead of the game.”

How can we help?

At Pearson Solicitors we have a dedicated department specialising in Employment Law for business. For legal advice on all aspects of Employment Law contact our Employment Law Solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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