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Employment law changes in 2024

Welcome to a new series of news updates and blogs from our partners, Peninsula. Peninsula is a Senior Employment Law Consultancy. They operate in HR, employment law and health and safety consultancy. Customers of our Protect independent living insurance products, can access their support via a 24-hour access to an Employment Law and Health & Safety advice line. To find out more about our range of three Protect policies on offer click here.

What’s happening in 2024?

Most people will not remember a time when there have been as many changes and new laws taking effect as there will be in 2024.

The UK hit the ground running as there were changes which took effect from 1 January 2024 when the emergency Covid rules that were implemented in 2020 were removed. These were introduced so that workers could carry over four weeks of leave into the following two leave years, where it was not reasonably practicable for them to take it because of Covid. Workers will have to use any they have accrued on or before 31 March 2024.

From 22 January 2024 the fines payable by employers who employ illegal workers are set to increase. The fine for a first breach will rise from £15,000 to £45,000 per illegal worker. For repeated breaches, the fine will increase from £20,000 to £60,000. It is important that right to work checks are completed correctly.

April is set to be a particularly busy month. There will be increases to statutory sick pay, family-friendly rates, National Living and Minimum Wage rates. The threshold for the National Living Wage will also be lowered from 23-year-olds to include 21-year-olds. Taking account of these changes will be crucial to avoid minimum wage and deduction from pay claims.

Next are some changes for employers of irregular hours workers or part-year workers. For leave years on or after 1 April 2024 , it will once again be lawful to use rolled-up holiday pay and for annual leave to be calculated on a pro rata basis. Consultation with employees will be needed before any change to terms.

A key date in the diary is 6 April 2024. This is when, subject to parliamentary approval, the right for carer’s leave is introduced and the right to make a flexible working request becomes a ‘day-one’ right. The protection that employees on maternity leave currently have, to be entitled to enhanced treatment during a redundancy exercise, will also be extended on 6 April 2024, if approved by parliament.

Later in the year, a duty requiring employers to proactively prevent sexual harassment by taking reasonable steps is expected to be implemented from around late October and the new right for workers to request a more stable and predictable contract after 26 weeks’ service, is expected around Autumn.

With more changes proposed and with a general election at some point in 2024, the employment law landscape will certainly be different this time next year.

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