This year is set to be a busy one for employers and, in particular, HR professionals, with a number of new employment laws and developments coming into force throughout 2024. This includes new rules on holiday leave and pay and the application of TUPE, changes to flexible working and increased protection from redundancy and sexual harassment (see our previous blog article, “UK – What to expect in employment law in 2024” for further details).
HR teams will need to keep on top of these changes and be ready to update internal processes, policies and, where applicable, contracts of employment, as well as implement training for managers and senior business partners. We have set out below a checklist of steps for employers and their HR teams to take:
Holiday leave and pay (from 1 January 2024)
- New legislation outlines the circumstances in which untaken holiday can be carried over. HR teams will need to review any holiday policies in place to ensure they allow for the carrying over of leave and ensure that policies and procedures clarify to workers that they should take their leave in the leave year and that such leave will be lost.
- HR teams will need to implement or update record keeping processes to ensure compliance with new requirements to maintain ‘adequate’ records and ensure limits on working time and the taking of rest breaks have been complied with.
- New legislation set outs what should be included as ‘normal remuneration’ when calculating holiday pay (being commission payments, payments for professional or personal status and overtime payments). HR teams should review holiday pay calculations and ensure correct elements of pay are included and work with any payroll providers to ensure that correct holiday pay is paid
- HR teams should consider providing managers with training to ensure they are aware of and understand employees’ holiday rights and entitlements, and the obligation to inform employees if they have any outstanding holiday that needs to be taken before the end of the holiday year.
Part-year or irregular hour workers holiday entitlement (from 1 April 2024)
- New rules will apply regarding the accrual of holiday in respect of part-year or irregular hour workers and allow employers to pay ‘rolled up’ holiday pay in certain circumstances. HR teams will need to review the workforce to identify any part-year or irregular hour workers and ensure correct procedures are in place in respect of holiday entitlements and pay.
- HR teams should consider whether to apply rolled up holiday pay in respect of those workers.
- HR teams must also ensure contracts of employment for any part-year or irregular hour workers set out individual working patterns and arrangements.
Increase to statutory pay rates, including National Minimum Wage (from 1 April 2024)
- Current rates are due to increase from 1 April 2024. HR teams must ensure that all employees and workers aged 21 and over are being paid above National Minimum Wage.
Flexible working (from 6 April 2024 for day one right)
- Changes are being introduced to the flexible working regime, including making the right to request flexible working a “day one right” and allowing employees to make two requests in any 12-month period. HR teams will need to review and update flexible working policies to reflect these changes, and review recruitment processes to ensure flexible working is considered at the outset of the employment relationship.
- HR teams will need to communicate the changes to the workforce.
- HR teams should provide training to managers or such other employees who handle flexible working requests on the changes, including the duty to consult with an employee before rejecting a flexible working request.
Carer’s leave (from 6 April 2024)
- New legislation provides employees with the right to take one week of unpaid leave to provide or arrange for care for a dependant in any 12-month rolling period. HR teams will need to draft or amend existing policies to provide for this new right and communicate the changes to the workforce. This should include consideration of how this may affect any existing policies.
- HR teams should also provide managers with training to ensure they are aware of this new right and the potential implications of an individual having caring responsibilities.
- Employers may also want to consider whether to enhance this right by continuing to pay employees during any period of carer’s leave.
Paternity leave (from 6 April 2024)
- Changes are being introduced to the way in which paternity leave is exercised, including the requirements relating to notice and evidence and the period within which paternity leave must be taken. HR teams will need to review and update existing policies to ensure they comply with new requirements and communicate the changes to the workforce.
Enhanced protection for pregnant mothers and those returning from family leave (from 6 April 2024)
- New legislation will extend the redundancy protections that currently apply to employees on maternity, adoption and shared parental leave to employees who are pregnant or who have recently returned to work from such leave. HR teams will need to review and update any redundancy procedure to reflect this.
- HR teams should also provide managers or such other employees who are involved in redundancy consultation exercises with training about these new rules, to ensure they understand how to balance the different rights of employees among the protected group and manage competing priorities for suitable alternative vacancies.
TUPE consultation (from 1 July 2024)
- TUPE Regulations will be amended to allow direct consultation with employees (rather than with representatives) in situations where either the business has fewer than 50 employees or the proposed transfer involves fewer than 10 employees. HR teams will need to review and update relevant policies and procedures.
Right to request a predictable work pattern (expected to come into force in September 2024)
- New legislation provides workers and agency workers with the right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work after 2 weeks’ service where there is a lack of predictability to their work pattern. HR teams should start considering who in their workforce may be able to make such a request and ensure that they have procedures in place for managers to deal with the requests.
Duty to prevent sexual harassment (expected to come into force in October 2024)
- New legislation introduces a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees in the workplace. HR teams should consider what steps can be taken to reduce the risk of sexual harassment in the workplace and how to demonstrate that such steps have been taken.
- HR teams should review any existing policies (including any speak up policy) to ensure they are up to date and effective and carry out training across the workforce.
- HR teams could also consider introducing a separate reporting channel for sexual harassment complaints.
- HR teams should provide training to managers or other select employees on how to deal with sexual harassment complaints and incidents.
If you would like any more information on the steps to be taken please contact your usual contact or speak with a member of the Employment Team.