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2024: Essential Employment Law Updates for HR Professionals

29 November 2023

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Employment law changes constantly, making it a challenge for employers to stay updated and make the necessary preparations in advance. The upcoming year, 2024, is no exception, as a wave of legal updates is poised to reshape the employment landscape.

This follows a busy year of enhancements to workers’ rights, with no fewer than five new employment Acts, designed to enhance family-friendly rights, already announced earlier this year and due to take effect in 2024.

As a new year approaches, we spotlight some of the impending employment law changes on the horizon that should be on your radar.

The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023

Set to come into effect on January 1, 2024, the Regulations will amend laws concerning holiday pay, TUPE, and working time.

The new provisions aim to simplify the calculation of holiday entitlement for part-year and irregular hours’ workers by introducing an accrual rate of 12.07% of hours worked in each preceding pay period. In addition, it will be possible for employers to “roll up” holiday pay for part-year and irregular hours workers only for holiday years that start from 1 April 2024 onwards. These new rules on holiday entitlement will also contain similar carry-over provisions.

Proposed changes to TUPE consultation requirements will enable small businesses (with fewer than 50 employees) and businesses of any size undertaking a small transfer (involving fewer than 10 employees) to consult directly with their employees if there are no existing worker representatives in place. This change only applies to TUPE transfers that take place on or after 1 July 2024.

With regard to working time record keeping, the government has confirmed that businesses won’t be obliged to maintain a record of workers’ daily working hours. While businesses will still need to keep “adequate” records to demonstrate compliance with the Working Time Regulations, this proposal seeks to eliminate the requirement for businesses to maintain overly detailed records that were often disproportionately costly and burdensome.

Note: Since these are only draft regulations, they are subject to change.   

Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Regulations 2023

Scheduled to take effect on 1 January, 2024, this draft legislation includes refining the definition of disability under the Equality Act to consider a person’s ability to engage in working life as a relevant factor in assessing ‘day-to-day activities.’

Additionally, the amendments extend the right to claim indirect discrimination by association, introducing a ‘single source’ test for equal pay comparators, extend direct discrimination protection to include statements about not wanting to recruit individuals with certain characteristics even where there is no identifiable victim, and explicitly include breastfeeding-related discrimination under the protected characteristic of sex.

Changes to family-friendly rights

Another significant change on the horizon is the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act, which received Royal Assent in the summer of 2023.

Under the proposed changes, employees gain the right to make two flexible working requests within any 12-month period, compared to the previous limit of one under current law. In addition, the obligation on the employee to explain what effects the proposed change has on their employer and what solutions are available to mitigate these effects, is no longer required. Employers are now required to consult each employee before rejecting their flexible working request and need to reach a decision within two months instead of three.

Carer’s Leave Act

The Carer’s Leave Act guarantees eligible employees the right to take one week’s leave per year to care for a dependant. This includes a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, or a person relying on the employee for care. This act aims to provide support from day one of employment, contributing to improved mental health and overall well-being for carers. The provisions do not come into effect until regulations are made and are not expected to be in force until at least April 2024.

Neonatal Care (Leave & Pay) Act

The Neonatal Care (Leave & Pay) Act, receiving Royal Assent on May 24, addresses the needs of parents with babies admitted to neonatal care. Approximately 700,000 babies annually require neonatal care, and this Act allows parents additional time off (up to 12 weeks) beyond standard parental leaves. Applicable from day one of employment, it provides paid leave for parents when their baby is in neonatal care. While it’s planned to come into force in 2025, an earlier implementation is possible, making it important to be aware of its potential impact.

Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023

This Act is expected to come into force in May 2024, and will protect the earnings of hospitality workers and employees. This legislation makes it illegal for businesses to withhold tips from employees and employers must ensure fair tip allocation, prompt payment, and maintain clear written policies, including a three-year record of tip distribution.

As many of these changes will take effect from 1 January 2024, it doesn’t give employers much time to get to grips with the proposals. It’s crucial for HR teams to familiarise themselves with the new legislation, review and update existing policies in line with these updates, and seek advice from employment law experts if further guidance is needed.




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