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Employment law updates – February 2024

Date published: Date modified: 2024-05-13

The new tax year is just around the corner - with that comes key legislative changes and employment law updates.  

Read on to find out more about holiday pay and TUPE changes, new paternity leave regulations, the Carer's Leave Act, amendments to flexible working regulations, and more. 

Holiday pay and TUPE changes 

Following the Harpur Trust v Brazel case, the government is introducing a new holiday regime for regular hours and part-year workers from 1 April 2024. Entitlement will be calculated at 12.07% of hours worked in a pay period. This can be paid as accrued annual leave when a worker wishes to take annual leave or as rolled up holiday pay where the extra 12.07% is paid at the same time as pay for work done.  

A summary of the legislation: 

  • Employers can pay irregular hours and part-year workers their holiday pay by adding 12.07% of their pay received for work done in a pay period (52 weeks before the first day of leave). 
  • Employers should calculate the annual leave entitlement of irregular hours and part-year workers by taking 12.07% of the hours worked in the pay period for the statutory entitlement. 
  • Starting from January 1st, 2024, workers will no longer be able to accumulate COVID-related carry-over leave as the Government removes the relevant regulations. 
  • The legislation will specify which pay components to include when calculating holiday pay for the four weeks of leave, as well as define irregular hours workers and part-year workers, aiming to provide clarity to both employers and workers. 

If you have queries about part-time holiday entitlement, including how to calculate holiday pay, visit the holiday pay and entitlement reform. 

Amendments to paternity leave regulations   

The government has released a draft legislation which will introduce modifications to paternity leave, including the opportunity to divide two-week paternity leave entitlement into two separate one-week blocks; making it more flexible for fathers and partners to access.  

These changes will: 

  • Allow fathers and partners to take their leave in non-consecutive blocks. Currently, only one block of leave can be taken, which can be either 1 or 2 weeks. The changes will remove this barrier by enabling fathers to take 2 non-consecutive weeks of leave. 
  • Allow fathers and partners to take their leave and pay at any point in the first year after the birth or adoption of their child — this gives fathers and partners more flexibility to take their paternity leave at a time that works for their family. 
  • Shorten the notice period that fathers and partners are required to give their employers for each period of leave — the new measure will require an employee to give only 4 weeks’ notice before each period of leave and this means that they can decide when to take their leave at shorter notice to accommodate the changing needs of their families. 

These regulations will be effective in all cases where the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) falls on or after April 6, 2024. These proposed changes also align with other forthcoming family-friendly legal amendments, including introducing carer’s leave, enhancements to flexible working rights, and expanding redundancy protection to encompass pregnancy and the period after maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave. 

Click here for more information about the changes to paternity leave.

Introduction of the Carer’s Leave Act 

A right to Carer's Leave is an issue that Carers UK has campaigned on for a long time. Effective from 6 April 2024, the Carer's Leave Act grants employees up to 5 days of unpaid leave annually to care for dependents with long-term needs. This can be taken as half-days, full-days, and up to 5 days consecutively.  

Click here to read more about the Carer’s Leave Act.  

Changes to flexible working regulations 

New flexible working laws are coming into play in the UK and are having a big impact on the world of employment. Under UK legislation, flexible working is defined as any arrangement that differs from the traditional 9-5 working pattern.  

The changes to flexible working laws allow employees to request flexible working from their first day of employment, make two requests per year, and eliminate the requirement to detail the requests' impact on the company. This is effective from 6 April 2024.  

Click here for more information on the changes to flexible working laws.

Prevent Duty guidance updated  

This is statutory guidance for England and Wales, issued on 7 September 2023 under Section 29 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.  

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, Section 29, is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 19 February 2024. For the full guidance, click here.  

Redundancy protection (pregnancy and family leave) - extended  

Effective from 6 April 2024, The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act extends the protection period to 18 months after the expected birth or placement for adoption. Employees must be offered suitable alternative employment during this period, without the need to interview or go through a selection process. 

Any employers considering or planning restructuring in 2024 will need to ensure they have properly thought through the implications of the new protections and the issues that may arise. The new protection applies to pregnancies notified to an employer on or after 6 April 2024 and maternity/adoption leave ending on or after 6 April 2024. For shared parental leave, the new protection applies to employees taking at least six weeks of shared parental leave which begins on or after 6 April 2024. 

For the full guidance, click here.  

National living wage increases 

The government has announced the rates of the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) which will come into force from April 2024. In doing so, it has accepted in full the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission. New minimum wage rates are as follows: £11.44 for ages 21 and over, £8.60 for ages 18 to 20, £6.40 for under 18s and apprentices.  

Click here to read more. 

Statutory payment increases 

Effective April 2024, statutory payments including Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Statutory Maternity Pay will increase. SSP will rise to £116.75 per week, while other statutory payments will increase to £184.03 per week or 90% of the employee’s weekly earnings if lower. The lower earnings limit remains at £123 per week. 

Click here to read more. 

Teachers' Pension employer contribution increase 

Starting in April 2024, the employer contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) will rise by 5%, from 23.6% to 28.6%. This increase will not affect employee contributions or the overall design of the TPS. The scheme will continue with its career average structure, where teachers accrue pension rights at a rate of 1/57 of their pensionable earnings per year. 

Click here to read more. 

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By SAAF Education
SAAF Education 340 110

28 February 2024

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