In the realm of employment law, 2023 brought about several noteworthy developments within the United Kingdom. However, as we embark upon 2024, anticipation looms for a year of heightened activity in this legal domain.

Here, we present a concise overview of anticipated changes.

Employment Rights (Amendments, Revocation, and Transitional Provision) Regulations (Effective now, January 1, 2024)

These regulations aim to provide clarity on holiday pay matters after years of uncertainty and disputes.  Specifically, they cover:

  • Workers with irregular hours and who don’t work all year round.
  • Holidays and related pay, including rolled-up holiday pay.

For comprehensive guidance, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simplifying-holiday-entitlement-and-holiday-pay-calculations/holiday-pay-and-entitlement-reforms-from-1-january-2024?mc_cid=c00bbd4c00&mc_eid=489ecca4e1

Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 (effective April 2024)

Expected to be enforced in April 2024, this act allows employees to make two flexible working requests within a 12-month period without the need to tell their employer what they believe the impact of their requested change will be. Employers will have to respond within two months and engage in consultation if seeking to reject a request.

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 (expected to be effective from April 2024)

Enhancing redundancy protections for pregnant employees and those on maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave, this act broadens the scope of protection for pregnant employees from the time they disclose their pregnancy and, as regards those on leave (whether shared parental, maternity, or adoption leave), until 18 months after the expected week of birth or placement.

Carer’s Leave Act 2023 (Effective April 2024)

This legislation enables employees to take one week of unpaid leave annually for ‘dependent’ care or arrangements for such care.  The act restricts an employer’s ability to refuse such requests, but in certain circumstances, it may be possible to postpone the leave for up to a month.

Worker (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 (expected to be effective around September 2024)

Enabling workers with unpredictable schedules to request a more predictable working pattern, this act is particularly relevant to those on zero-hour or short-term contracts.

Worker Protection (Amendments of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 (Expected to be effective from October 2024)

Mandating employers to take proactive measures against workplace sexual harassment, this act imposes a new positive duty. The definition of “reasonable steps” that an employer must take will likely evolve through case law development.

National Living Wage Increase (from April 1, 2024)

The National Living Wage will rise from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour, and this will apply to workers aged 21 and above. All minimum wage rates increase each year (please see here the minimum wage rates for 2024) but the significance in 2024 is that the age bracket for the National Living Wage will reduce from 23 to 21, which will impact many businesses heavily amid economic uncertainty.

Potential Legislative Changes (Dependent on 2024 General Election Outcome, Expected in 2024)

If Labour secures victory, the proposed Employment Rights Bill within the first 100 days of office could introduce significant alterations, including bans on zero-hour contracts and “fire and rehire,” as well as various equality and anti-discrimination measures.

Looking Ahead

The specifics of these anticipated changes may necessitate further clarification or might evolve, so it’s crucial for employers and HR professionals to stay informed about the prospective landscape in 2024. This awareness is pivotal for adequately shaping policies and procedures and reducing business risk.

For personalised insights into the implications of these changes on your business or for advice on any aspect of HR or employment law, we encourage you to reach out to Kathryn Hirst and her dedicated Employment Team at Hansells. Feel free to contact us via phone at 01603 751932 or 01603 615731, or by sending an email to kathrynhirst@hansells.co.uk or info@hansells.co.uk.

Whether you have questions about the implications of these changes on your business or need assistance with any aspect of HR/employment law, our team is here to guide you

Kathryn Hirst | Managing Partner Commercial, Commercial Property, Employment, Partners

01603 751 932