UK Employment law updates: Changes for 2024: Increased rights to flexible working | A new statutory leave entitlements for carers | Plus a significant shift in employer's obligations to prevent sexual harassment

In our December legal blog, the CIPD summarises what UK employment law changes are on the horizon in 2024.  

This blog was updated on 1 January 2024. The details of this blog are accurate at the time of writing. The CIPD maintains updated records of employment law legislation on their dedicated timetable.  

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

From the start of 2024, adapted employment rights will come into force for England, Wales and Scotland. The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023 are built on the back of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 (RUEL), and are applicable for England, Wales and Scotland.   

Do work practices need to change? Organisations will need to ensure they have updated their practices on record keeping of working hours, rolled up holiday pay (RHP) for irregular hours and part time workers, as well as TUPE consultation polices for businesses with fewer than 50 employees (and no existing representation). You can track changes enacted under RUEL here 

Comes into force: 1 January 2024    

Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (the EqA 2010 Amendment Regulations)  

Amendments to the Equality Act to reproduce and retain various rights and principles of equality and discrimination law in England, Scotland and Wales (EU law that otherwise expires on 31 December 2023).   

Do work practices need to change? Organisations should be aware that the following items have been addressed; direct discrimination related to pregnancy, maternity and breastfeeding, indirect associative discrimination, discriminatory statements about recruitment, single source tests in equal pay claims and the definition of disability. Full details can be found here.   

Comes into force: 1 January 2024  

National Insurance rates cut  

Across the UK, National Insurance will be cut by 2% (from 12%) for those earning between £12,570 and £50.270. Self-employed workers will pay 9%. Class 2 National Insurance for the self-employed will be abolished.  

Do work practices need to change? Payroll should capture these changes.    

Comes into force: 6 January 2024.  
Right to work fines triple   

Illegal working fines will triple to £45,000 per worker for first breaches and £60,000 per worker for repeat breaches in the UK.    

Do work practices need to change? Organisations without substantial right to work checks in place should take note. A draft code suggests that all right to work checks must include either a manual right to work check, a right to work check using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT), or a Home Office online right to work check.   

Comes into force: 22 January 2024  
National Minimum/Living Wage changes     

Do work practices need to change? – In the UK, the National Minimum/Living Wage is set to rise.   

For people aged over 21, the National Minimum (Living) Wage will rise from £10.42 to £11.44  
For people aged 18-20 the National Minimum (Living) Wage will rise from £7.49 to £8.60  
For people aged 16-17 and apprentices, the National Minimum (Living) Wage will increase from £5.28 to £6.40  

Comes into force: 1 April 2024.   
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023  

An act making a day one right for employees in England, Scotland and Wales to make two flexible working requests in a 12-month period.   

Do work practices need to change? Organisations need to ensure that they have policies and practices in place to respond to these requests; both suitably and within the legal time-period. The act states that an employee can make two flexible working requests a year, there must be a consultation between both parties and employers must respond within two months.    

Comes into force: 6 April 2024 (for requests made on, or after, this date)  
Carer’s Leave Act 2023  

Introducing a right for a statutory leave entitlement of five working days every 12 months for unpaid carers across the UK although it will only take effect in Northern Ireland if legislation is passed there.    

Do work practices need to change? This is a new right and employers will need to prepare for it. It is a day one right and applies to anyone who is the carer for a person with a long-term care need. The leave may be taken in half-days, full days or blocks of time and the notice for leave is twice as much time as the leave required or at the employers' discretion for shorter notice. Employers can postpone leave when certain conditions are considered.   

Comes into force: 6 April 2024  
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023  

Extending redundancy protection for 18 months after the birth or placement of a child across England, Scotland and Wales.  

Do work practices need to change? The extended pool of those protected from redundancy in the event of parental leave is significant. If passed, the extended rights will require employers to track the following additional rights from April 2024 onward:  

In pregnancy, protection from the point at which an employee tells their employer about their pregnancy until the day that statutory maternity leave starts. If the pregnancy ends, the protection continues for two weeks after the end of pregnancy.  

On maternity leave, the additional protected period will end 18 months after the expected week of childbirth or the date of the child's birth (if the employee has shared this).  

For adoption leave, the additional protected period ends 18 months after the child's placement.  

For shared parental leave, the additional protection can continue to 18 months after the date of the child's birth or placement.  

Comes into force: Likely from 6 April 2024 (still to be confirmed).  
Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023  

A new legal obligation for employers in England, Scotland and Wales to fairly allocate the tips over which they exercise control.   

Do work practices need to change? If tips are part of your industry, then work practices need to be up-to-scratch when this law comes into effect. The legislation sets out that organisations will need to ensure that they can demonstrate that tips are paid in full to workers within a month of payment, that companies should have a written policy of tip allocation and that up to three years of tip allocation records should be maintained.   

Comes into force: Expected to come into force in April 2024. A consultation on the matter is open until 22 February 2024.   

Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023  

The act allows employees who work unpredictable hours to make two predictable working pattern requests a year in England, Scotland and Wales.     

Do work practices need to change? Policies and procedures need to be in place to account for the new law. The act requires companies to schedule timely meetings with employees making a request, that decisions should be made based on evidence and that accurate records of the meetings should be made. Decisions should be issued within one month of request or appeal  

Comes into force: September 2024 

Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023     

The act signals a major change in sexual harassment law in England, Scotland and Wales, placing a significant responsibility on employers to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. The onus is moved from the victim to report and raise an issue, and instead placed on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission will be able to take action against firms who breach their duties. Compensation in such cases can be increased by 25%.   

Do work practices need to change? Ahead of commencement, organisations should risk assess their workplaces, clarify policies, issue training to all employees and ensure that they have fair and impartial investigation procedures in place.    

Comes into force: 26 October 2024  
What else for 2024?  

Senior employment law lecturer Stephen Taylor has looked into his crystal ball to establish what he foresees as the key issues at stake in employment law 2024, they include:  

  • the potential banning of exclusivity clauses for low paid workers,  
  • reopening of discussions around race and ethnicity pay gap reporting,   
  • reform of the UK tribunals system, and...  
  • radical improvements to paternity rights considering social change.  

Keep track of all future confirmed legal changes in the CIPD’s legislative timetable.

Thank you for your comments. There may be a short delay in this going live on the blog page as we moderate the comments added to our blogs.