Employment law is an ever-changing area of law and it can be difficult to keep up.  You may have noticed that there are a number of changes in employment law which come into force this month (well from tomorrow 6 April 2024).

These changes include:

  1. Introduction of Carer’s Leave
  2. Paternity Leave
  3. Flexible Working
  4. Redundancy protection extended during pregnancy / maternity leave

There are also the changes to annual leave for irregular hours and part-year workers, as well as national minimum and living wage rate increases which came into force on 1 April 2024. Statutory payments and Tribunal Compensation increases also come into effect on 6 April.

We have already posted a number of updates over the last few months in relation to each of the above changes, however we have summarised these below for your information. 

If you want to find out more, then contact either Emma-Louise Hewitt or Carina Jheeta on 0121 746 3300 / 08081668860 or drop them an email at e.hewitt@sydneymitchell.co.uk or c.jheeta@sydneymitchell.co.uk.

Carer’s Leave

The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 introduce the entitlement to unpaid carer’s leave.  From 6 April 2024 an employee who has a dependant with a long-term care need may take one week’s unpaid leave to either provide or arrange care in each rolling 12-month period. ‘

The leave can be taken either as individual days, half days or up to a block of one week.  As such, the leave does not need to be taken on consecutive days. The employee must give the employer notice to take the leave which must be either twice as many days as the period of leave required, or three days, whichever is the greater. However, employers cannot decline an employees request altogether, but it can postpone the leave where it reasonably considers that the business would be unduly disrupted if it allowed the employee to undertake the period of leave during the requested period.

Paternity Leave

The changes which come into force from 6 April 2024 increases the period during which paternity leave can be taken to within 52 weeks of the child’s birth or placement and allows leave to be taken in two separate blocks of one week, as well as adjusting the notice required to be given to at least 28 days before each period of leave.

Flexible Working

The changes to Flexible Working which come into force on 6 April 2024, removes the eligibility criteria of 26 weeks’ of continuous employment to making it a day one right. There are also changes to the right to make a flexible working request and the statutory procedure that must be followed by an employer when considering such a request made by an employee which includes increasing the number of requests that an employee can make in a 12-month period to two, and requiring the employer to consult with the employee before rejecting any flexible working request.

Redundancy Protection

The Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 introduce additional redundancy protections with effect from 6 April 2024. What these regulations do is extend the period of protection after returning to work from relevant family-related leave until 18 months after the expected week of childbirth or the child’s date of birth or, in adoption cases, the child’s placement. They also introduce protection during pregnancy which begins when the employer is informed of the pregnancy and ends on the day statutory maternity leave starts or, if the pregnancy unfortunately ends and the employee is not entitled to statutory maternity leave, two weeks after the end of the pregnancy.

The new rules will apply in the following ways :

  1. where the protected period covers pregnancy - when the employee notifies the employer of her pregnancy on or after 6 April 2024.
  2. where it relates to a period after family related-leave, the new rules apply to maternity and adoption leave ending on or after 6 April 2024; and
  3. to a period of 6 consecutive weeks’ of shared parental leave starting on or after 6 April 2024.

But also, don’t forget these that came into force on 1 April 2024:

Annual Leave for irregular hours and part-year workers

The new annual leave rules relating to irregular hours and part-year workers will apply in respect of any leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024.

National minimum/living wage rises

With effect from 1 April 2024, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) are as follows:

  • the NLW is extended to apply to workers aged 21 and over and increases from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour
  • the NMW for 18- to 20-year-olds increases from £7.49 to £8.60 per hour
  • the NMW for 16- to 17-year-olds increases from £5.28 to £6.40 per hour; and
  • the apprentice rate increases from £5.28 to £6.40 per hour.

Statutory payments and Tribunal Compensation changes

With effect from 7 April 2024, statutory maternity pay and statutory adoption pay (after the first six weeks), statutory paternity pay, statutory shared parental pay and statutory parental bereavement pay will be £184.03 per week or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

Statutory sick pay will rise from £109.40 to £116.75 per week from 6 April 2024.

A week’s pay used for calculating both the basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payments increases from £643 to £700, and the cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal, increases from £105,707 to £115,115, from 6 April 2024. 

For claims presented on or after 6 April 2024, the ‘Vento bands’ for injury to feelings compensation will be:

  • a lower band of £1,200 to £11,700
  • a middle band of £11,700 to £35,200; and
  • an upper band of £35,200 to £58,700, with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £58,700.





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