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Changes in UK Employment Law: What’s In Store for 2024?

With the introduction of new statutory rights, amendments to existing legislation and the clarification/confirmation of certain points, there will be many twists and turns for people managers and HR professionals seeking to navigate the evolving employment landscape.


About the webinar

Our session offers a comprehensive overview of the upcoming changes in employment law, designed to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate this dynamic terrain. We'll explore primary principles and help you to anticipate potential pitfalls. 
What we'll cover:


Latest regulations and updates regarding holiday entitlements and pay


New carer's leave provisions, including eligibility criteria and what to expect


Paternity leave, including changes to when it can be taken and how it can be used


New enhancements to the right to request flexible working and practical considerations


An overview of all key changes that HR managers and business owners should be aware of

Questions & Answers

While we genuinely appreciate all the questions submitted during our session, regrettably, we aren't able to address each one. Below are some of the questions and answers we didn't quite get around to which you might find useful to accompany this webinar. 
If a business decides to offer paid carer's leave - is it reasonable to ask the employee for evidence?

There is a statutory right to one week’s unpaid Carer’s Leave with effect from 6 April 2024 to enable employees to provide or arrange for the care of a dependant. 

If an employer wishes to enhance this entitlement by offering paid leave, it will be appropriate for the company to set out its own internal rules and requirements for the paid element of the leave (and/or additional days that it may decide to grant). This means that it would be possible to ask the employee to supply additional details (to specifically access paid leave). Any such arrangements would need to be set out in a clear company policy. 

Just to note - if such an arrangement is introduced, our advice is that you should not retain copies of any documentary evidence that may be shared given the sensitivity of this information and data protection and privacy considerations. It would be sufficient to simply make a written note that evidence had been seen by an appropriate manager and the date it had been seen. Otherwise, evidence is not required for the statutory entitlement to one week’s unpaid Carer’s Leave.

If a business already offers one day of paid leave for carers, can it be included in the 5 days or does it have to be in addition to it?

If an employer already offers one day of paid leave for carers, it can be included as part of the new statutory right to one week’s unpaid Carer’s Leave - i.e. in this instance, for a full-time employee, they would have the right to 5 days Carer’s Leave, with one day being paid (as an enhancement provided by the employer) and the remaining 4 days being unpaid.

Can an employer ask employees to complete a Carer’s Leave Request & Self-Certification Form, declaring that they meet the legal definition of a carer and will be using the leave in that capacity?

Yes - it will be appropriate to ask for employees to complete a written notification of the requirement to take Carer’s Leave and/or a self-certification form. HR Duo clients will have access to editable templates that can be used for this purpose.

How does carer's leave being used for a child align with other related leave e.g. dependents?

There is an existing entitlement to Care of Dependants Leave. This allows employees to take reasonable time off from work (unpaid) so that they can respond in the first instance to an unplanned or unforeseen emergency involving the care of a dependant. This means that this type of leave cannot be used to accompany someone to a planned medical appointment or for an employee to provide care themselves.

The new right to Carer’s Leave being introduced in April 024 is, however,  intended to be used in such instances where a dependent has a long-term care need with a foreseeable need for support  - i.e. an illness or injury that lasts (or is likely to last) more than 3 months, a disability, or issues related to old age. To confirm, this means, for example, that Carer’s Leave could be used for accompanying someone to planned medical appointments or providing care.

In regards to the Equality Act, what are the detailed protections around breastfeeding?

The Equality Act 2010 did not previously protect breastfeeding women from less favourable treatment at work(!). The changes that have been introduced in January 2024 mean that if a woman is treated less favourably because she is breastfeeding, she now has the ability to make a claim for direct sex discrimination.

How many holiday days are statutory (excluding Bank Holidays) and how many bank holiday leave days are there?

Under the Working Time Regulations, workers are entitled to a statutory minimum of 28 days (5.6 weeks) annual leave per year. Employers can include bank holidays as part of the minimum entitlement. For example, for employers who do this in England and Wales where there are 8 bank holidays, this means in effect that the holiday entitlement is made up of 8 days that are fixed (in terms of when they are taken) and 20 days where the worker can choose (with employer agreement) when to use their holiday. There are 9 bank holidays in Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland.

Regarding the accrual of leave for part-year workers, we calculate holiday by the start date and end date of an employee, our holiday year runs from Jan-Dec - would the new arrangements apply if a business employed someone in April and then issued a P45 in October?

The new category of Part-Year worker relates specifically to those whose contract terms include the principle that at different parts of the year they will not be required to work (and will not receive pay for when they are not working). This, for example, relates to seasonal workers and term-time workers who - in essence - have an “umbrella contract” which spans even the periods where they are not required to work.

If you employ someone and then dismiss them within the leave year (issuing a P45), this does not mean that they are classed as a Part-Year worker. In this scenario, their entitlement to leave will be calculated on a pro-rata basis (as per your current practice).

For calculating holiday pay does a business have to include commission payments?

Yes - normal pay should reflect any elements related to basic pay, commission, regular payments (e.g. overtime) and payments related to professional or personal status. The underlying principle is that workers should not be financially disadvantaged for taking holiday. Payments that are regularly paid - and which therefore become relied upon - should be reflected in the “normal pay” rate.

Do people accrue bank holidays on maternity leave?

If an employer is relying on bank holidays to make up the statutory minimum holiday entitlement (eg saying that the 8 bank holidays in England and Wales are included in the 28-day entitlement, bank holidays will accrue during family leave (eg maternity leave). 

If an employee wants to use their 2nd week of paternity leave at a later date in the year, is the business able to request/insist on a postponement /alternative date?

An employee is entitled to take paternity leave if they meet the qualifying criteria and provide the required periods of notice, i.e. notification of their intention to take paternity leave by the 15th week before the baby is due, and 28 days notice of the start of the period(s) of paternity leave.

This means that it will be advisable to encourage employees to talk to you at the earliest opportunity about how they might plan to take their entitlement to paternity leave. The start date of paternity leave can be delayed if the employee has not provided the required 28-day notice.

Follow-up Right-to-Work checks, does this have to be done if you TUPE-in new employees?

Following a TUPE-in transfer, the new employer (the transferee) will be liable for any issues arising in relation to employment matters, right-to-work checks and other compliance requirements. In view of this, it is advisable to complete right-to-work checks following a transfer to ensure that appropriate evidence is in place - there is a “grace period” of 60 days for the transferee to enable this to happen.

Regarding Preventing Illegal Working, is the practice of verifying the person's passport still the normal way to be compliant or are there any recommended new ways to verify?

In short, there are 3 ways to complete right-to-work checks

i) by manually checking original documents such as a passport from List A or a combination of documents as contained within List B (see here for further information on the prescribed lists)

ii) digitally (for British and Irish citizens only) using an approved Identity Service Provider;

iii) online using an access share code from the employee and using the Home Office website to view biometric or e-Visa proof of status (for non-British and non-Irish citizens only).

When new regulations are a day 1 right, do these come into effect during the employee's probationary period, or do they become a day 1 right only once they have passed their probationary period?

Where statutory entitlements are classed as a “day 1 right”, they will take effect from the very first day of employment (i.e. there is no minimum service criteria). This means that probationary employees will also be entitled to such rights.