As we enter 2024, we’ve been reflecting on some of the significant changes in employment law in 2023 along with highlighting the ‘ones to watch’ in 2024. As a business, it is important to be aware of these changes and plan how you will implement them. Here, Banner Jones‘ Sara Patel provides a rundown of what new regulations are soon to be coming into effect and predicts what further developments we could be seeing later this year.

Flexible Working
With effect from 06 April 2024, The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 states that every employee has the right to request flexible working from day one of employment. Under the Act, employees will be able to make two requests for flexible working in each 12-month period.

Sara Patel
Sara Patel, Paralegal at Banner Jones

Holiday Pay
The Supreme Court held that a three-month gap between underpayments of holiday pay does not automatically break a series of deductions, with employees being able to claim for deductions before the gap if it can be argued they form part of a series. Employers should ensure that holiday pay constitutes ‘normal pay’ and so needs to include any bonuses, commission, or overtime.

Employment Status and Trade Union Membership
Employment status has been at the forefront of employment law developments in recent years. In 2023, the Supreme Court were tasked with deciding whether Deliveroo riders were able to form trade unions.

The Supreme Court ultimately established that the riders had no employment relationship with Deliveroo and could not therefore rely on trade union rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Anticipated Developments in 2024

  • Redundancy Protection: The draft Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 mean employees taking such leave, or those who have suffered a miscarriage, will have their period of protection against redundancy increased to 18 months following their return to work.
  • “Fire and Rehire”: The Government pledged to tackle the use of dismissal and re-engagement by employers and underwent consultation to introduce a new statutory Code of Practice to regulate such matters. A formal version of the Code is expected to be published in Spring 2024.
  • Sexual Harassment: The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 will come into force in October 2024, imposing a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of employees.
  • Carer’s Leave Regulations: Due to take effect in April 2024, these regulations will offer a day-one right for employees to be absent from work to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need. Employees can apply for up to one week’s unpaid leave in any 12-month period, and leave can be consecutive or non-consecutive, half-days or full days.
  • Predictable terms and Conditions: The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is likely to come into force in September 2024, aiming to give workers and agency workers the right to request more predictable terms and conditions of work where there is a little predictability to their work pattern.

Employers should ensure that they review and update their employment contracts and policies to ensure that the changes in legislation and guidance are incorporated.

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