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New Year, New Employment Law

2024 brings with it some significant changes to employment law in England and Wales summarised below:

Holiday Pay – 1st January 2024 (subject to parliamentary approval) but relating to leave years which start on or after 1st April 2024

When calculating holiday entitlement from 1st January 2024 for ‘part-year workers and irregular hours workers only’, employers will be able to use an accrual method based on 12.07% of the hours worked during “the pay period”.

The impact of this is to reverse the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Harpur Trust v Brazel [2022] for these categories of workers and in so doing, allow most employers to revert to the formula previously used and with which they are already familiar.

As an alternative the Regulations also allow for employers (if they choose) to implement a system of rolled up holiday pay for part-year workers and irregular hours workers, where holiday pay is paid as an uplift of 12.07% to the normal rate of pay at the time work is done, instead of being paid at the time holiday is taken.

This also represents a rolling back of case law to once again allow employers to lawfully adopt a practice which was initially popular when the Working Time regulations first mandated minimum periods of paid holiday for all employees.

Covid-19 Holiday Carry-Over Rules – 1st January 2024 (subject to parliamentary approval)

In 2020, the Government introduced emergency legislation to relax the rules and allow for employees to carry-over periods of untaken holiday and so provide businesses with greater flexibility at a time when they were under pressure from the impacts of Covid-19.

This provision will be removed from 1 January 2024. Workers who still have untaken carry-over holiday will need to use it by 31 March 2024.

National Minimum Wage increases – 1st April 2024

  • National Living Wage shall increase to £11.44 per hour and be expanded to cover 21-22 year olds. (formerly only applied to worker aged 23 and over)
  • 18 – 20 year olds rate shall increase to £8.60
  • 16 – 17 year olds rate shall increase to £6.40
  • Apprentice rate increased to £6.40

Flexible Working Requests – 6th April 2024 (anticipated)

The requirement for an employee to have at least 26 weeks continuous service before being eligible to make a flexible working request will be removed. Employees will be entitled to make a flexible working request from day 1 of employment.

Other changes will mean that:

  • Employees will be entitled to make two requests in any 12 month period instead of the one currently allowed.
  • Employees will not have to identify the impact their request may have on the business or how this could be addressed.
  • Employers will have to make a decision in two months (instead of three months) unless otherwise agreed with the employee.
  • Employers will not be able reject a request without consulting with the employee.

ACAS has announced that it published updated guidance on how to handle flexible working requests.

Leave For Carers – 6th April 2024 (subject to secondary regulations)

Employees will be entitled to one week’s unpaid leave a year to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.

Leave requests can be for consecutive or non-consecutive, half days or full days.

Employers may postpone a carer’s leave by up to a month in certain circumstances but cannot decline a request outright.

Enhanced Protection for workers on Maternity or Adoption Leave – Applies where the employer is informed of the pregnancy on, or after, 6th April 2024

Currently, regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 provides that parents on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave should be offered first refusal of any suitable alternative employment which may be available in a redundancy situation.
This protection is extended as follows:

  1. For maternity – the protected period will cover pregnancy, alongside 18 months from the first day of the estimated week of childbirth (this can be changed to cover 18 months from the exact date of birth, if the employee gives the employer notice of this date prior to the end of maternity leave).
  2. For adoption – the protected period will cover 18 months from placement for adoption.
  3. For shared parental leave – the protected period will cover 18 months from birth.

TUPE Transfers – 1st July 2024

The requirement to elect representatives for the purpose of informing and consulting under the TUPE regulations where there are no existing (e.g. Trade Union) representatives in place is removed for:

  • Employers with fewer than 50 employees (irrespective of the size of the transfer); or
  • Where the proposed transfer includes less than 10 employees, irrespective of the size of the employer.

In these situations, employers will be able to inform and consult directly with the affected employees.

Protection from Harassment – October 2024

The Worker Protection Act 2023 amends the Equality Act 2010 to:

  • Introduce a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees.
  • Give employment tribunals the power to uplift sexual harassment compensation by up to 25% where an employer is found to have breached the new duty to prevent sexual harassment.

The employment law landscape in England and Wales is undergoing multiple changes in 2024. If you would like further information on these or any other workplace issue, please contact our employment team on [email protected].


Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this newsletter/blog are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.

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