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What Lies Ahead for HR and Employment Law in 2024? (UK)

In 2023, our focus on pay, work-life balance, and well-being took centre stage, alongside responses to industrial actions. Looking forward, 2024 will witness the realisation of initiatives developed last year. These include new laws supporting workforce inclusion, guiding individuals in their professional journeys, and simplifying employment regulations post-Brexit.

Although the Acts are fresh, we eagerly await the detailed regulations that will bring these laws to life. In the meantime, here's a quick snapshot of recent changes and what to expect in 2024.

Join us on this journey as we explore what lies ahead for HR and Employment Law in 2024:

Rehabilitation of Offenders

When: Now in place (Implemented October 2023)
Details: Periods relating to when convictions will be regarded as “spent" have been reduced (except for serious violent, sexual or terrorism-related crimes).

This change means that an increased number of individuals will no longer be obliged to declare such convictions and is intended to enable previous offenders to obtain employment and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

TUPE 'Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006

When: Now in place (Implemented January 2024)
Details: Removing the requirement for staff affected by a TUPE transfer to be consulted via employee representatives/TU representatives if the employer has a workforce of fewer than 50 people or if the number transferring (in an organisation of any size) is less than 10.

Employers will, instead, be able to inform and consult individual employees directly. This change will apply to transfers that take place on or after 1 July 2024 where there are no employee representatives already in place.

Right-to-work checks

When: Now in place (Implemented January 2024)
Details: The Government is significantly increasing the level of financial penalty that can be applied to employers who are found to be employing individuals who do not have a legal right to work in the UK - placing even more emphasis on the importance of completing checks prior to the start of employment.

Checks can be done manually - by reviewing original documents; or digitally - by using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) via an approved Identity Service Provider (ISDP) for British and Irish citizens only; or online - by obtaining an access share code from the prospective employee and using the Home Office website (to review biometric or e-Visa proof of status for non-British and non-Irish citizens only)

Carry forward of Holiday

When: January 2024
Details: Following Brexit, domestic legislation has been produced to clarify and confirm existing arrangements that were previously informed by EU legislation and case law.

One area that is being confirmed is that workers can carry forward their full holiday entitlement if they are unable to take it due to being on family leave, and if leave cannot be taken due to being on long-term sick leave, then - for a full-time employee - a maximum of 20 days (less any days already taken) can be carried forward but used within 18 months of the end of the leave year in which it accrued.

Carer’s Leave

Where: England, Wales and Scotland
When: 6th April 2024
Details: New right to 5 days unpaid leave in each 12 month period so that employees can provide or arrange for the care of dependants with long-term care needs. A day one right, employees can take leave in half days, single days or as a one-week block

Paternity Leave

Where: England, Wales and Scotland
When: for expected due dates for a child’s birth/adoption placements on or after 6th April 2024
Details: Changes which will allow 2 weeks of Paternity Leave to be taken as a single block or 2 separate blocks of one week within 52 weeks after the birth

Protection from Redundancy

When:  for expected due dates for a child’s birth/adoption placements on or after 6th April 2024
Details: Employees who are on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave currently have the right to be offered suitable alternative employment over everyone else where this is available.

This new right provides a protection period of 18 months for those on or returning from these forms of family leave, i.e. from the birth/adoption placement assuming the full entitlement to 12 months leave and 6 months following the return to work.

Holiday back pay

When: Now in place following Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland v Agnew Supreme Court Decision.
Details: A recent case has clarified the principle that holiday pay should be paid at the same rate as normal weekly pay  (i.e. calculated as an average of the last 52 weeks worked and reflecting any regular payments in addition to basic pay (eg bonuses, commission, allowances etc) for at least 20 days of the holiday entitlement (for a full-time employee).

If an employee has been paid incorrectly, or not at all, any claims for holiday back pay relating to a chain of underpayments will no longer be broken by a gap of 3 months.

Holiday pay and entitlement for part-year and irregular-hours workers

Where: England, Wales, Scotland
When:  Leave years which start on or after 1st April 2024
Details: Relating to the calculation of entitlement (multiplying hours worked by 12.07%), determining the elements for “normal pay” (i.e. including regular payments such as bonus, commission, payments for professional or personal status, and overtime) and allowing the use of rolled-up holiday pay for part-year and irregular hours workers.

New rates for National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW)

When: 1st April 2024
Details: The NLW will be extended from those who are 23 years and over to those workers who are 21 years and over.

Rates will increase from current levels as follows:

  • 21 years and over - £11.44
  • 18-20 years - £8.60
  • 16-17 years - £6.40
  • Apprentice Rate - £6.40
  • Accommodation Offset - £9.99

Allocation of tips

Where: England, Wales, Scotland
When: 1st July 2024
Details: Requirement for tips/service charges to be fairly distributed and for employers to pass on 100% of tips instead of withholding proportions of these from staff.

Employers will need to set out their approach within a written policy and maintain a record of how tips have been allocated and distributed to staff.

Flexible working

Where: England, Wales, Scotland
When: 6th April 2024
Details: Changes which will allow employees to make requests 2 times within a 12 month period (instead of once), and for this to be a day one right (instead of requiring 26 weeks service). Employers will be required to respond within 2 months (instead of 3) and to consult with employees before deciding if there are concerns about accommodating a request.

Predictable terms and conditions

When: We predict this will likely be September 2024
Details: New right for atypical workers (including casual, zero hours, bank, fixed term contracts, agency workers) to request a more predictable working pattern.

To be managed similarly to arrangements for flexible working requests, however, employers must respond within 1 month.

Prevention of sexual harassment

Where: England, Wales, Scotland
When: 26th October 2024
Details: New duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the course of employment, with an emphasis on providing training; clear communications on expectations for managers, staff, suppliers, customers etc; and using insights from the investigation of complaints to share learning.

Domestic abuse (Safe Leave)

Where: Northern Ireland 
When: We can't yet predict when in 2024 the implementation of this will be
Details: Proposed new day one right for 10 days paid leave in each leave year to deal with issues related to domestic abuse

Fire and rehire

When: We can't yet predict when in 2024 the implementation of this will be
Details: A new code of practice to be implemented in regard to situations when an employer intends to impose new terms and conditions of employment by giving notice to dismiss its employees from their existing contracts and issuing them with another on reduced/different terms at the same time. The code will emphasise that such practices should only be used as a last resort.

Prevention of Fraud

When: We can't yet predict when the implementation of this will be
Details: New duty on employers to prevent fraud.

Non-compete clauses

When: We can't yet predict when the implementation of this will be
Details: Government intention to limit the duration of non-compete clauses to a maximum of 3 months in employee and worker contracts. This cap will not apply to other restrictive covenants.

Pension auto-enrolment changes

When: We can't yet predict when the implementation of this will be
Details: The age threshold lowered from 22 to 18 and contributions from the first £1 of earnings. 

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To keep pace with these evolving regulations and ensure compliance, HR Duo provides HR Compliant templates for best practices and offers support for employee relations, enabling business owners to focus on running the business instead of day-to-day HR. Request a demo today!

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