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In the realm of employment law in the UK, a plethora of legislative shifts are on the horizon, ranging from Carer’s Leave and Day 1 Flexible Working Requests to the introduction of proactive measures to curb workplace sexual harassment. Our comprehensive overview for 2024 delves into the anticipated alterations.

Post-Brexit Employment Reforms

In 2023, pivotal decisions by the government concerning post-Brexit employment reforms, coupled with notable support for private members’ bills, have paved the way for substantial changes in employment law throughout 2024. Notably, the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act, effective from 01 January 2024, terminated the supremacy of EU law over UK law, granting the government newfound authority to reform EU-based employment laws. This has led to consequential shifts, such as the integration of key EU case-law decisions into UK legislation, particularly concerning holiday pay and non-discrimination.

Holiday Entitlement and Pay Changes

Beginning 01 January 2024, noteworthy changes include the enforcement of laws affecting to holiday entitlement and pay. Employers are now mandated to uphold full normal pay levels for at least four weeks of an individual’s holiday entitlement, with provisions allowing the carry-forward of unused holiday entitlement in specific situations.

Amendments to the Equality Act 2010 also come into effect, preserving the effects of certain EU case-law, while the government takes modest steps to alleviate EU case-law on TUPE consultation obligations and working time record-keeping obligations.

Despite these changes, concerns loom regarding the increased uncertainty in the interpretation of UK laws post-Brexit, as EU supremacy ends and EU legal principles cease to apply, potentially leading to re-litigation of grey areas in EU-derived UK law. Employers are advised to remain vigilant for new case-law and be prepared for potential legal challenges.

April 2024: Major Employment Law Changes

Looking forward to early 2024, a draft Code of Practice on ‘fire and rehire’ is expected to be published, and come 01 April 2024, substantial employment law changes are anticipated.

National Living Wage Increase:
The National Living Wage will experience a significant hike to £11.44 per hour, the largest increase ever recorded.

Proposed Statutory Pay Hikes for Family Leave:
It has also been proposed but not yet confirmed by the government that the rates of statutory pay for family leave including statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave will increase from £172.48 to £184.03 per week, and statutory sick pay will increase from £109.40 to £116.75 per week.

New Holiday System for Irregular Hours Workers:
From 01 April 2024, a new holiday system for workers with irregular hours or part-time schedules will be implemented. These rules are applicable to holiday years commencing on or after 1 April2024, potentially impacting businesses differently based on their holiday year cycle. For instance, if your organisation follows a calendar holiday year, these rules won’t be applicable until January 2025. Under this system, workers with irregular hours or part-time engagements will accrue holiday entitlement at the end of each pay period, calculated at the rate of 12.07% of hours worked. Additionally, employers have the option to provide holiday pay on a rolled-up basis, i.e., as a supplement to basic pay. For employers engaging such workers, these changes carry significant implications, warranting consideration of legal advice to update existing practices.

Day 1 Flexible Working Requests
On 06 April 2024, employees gain the right to request flexible working from day 1 of employment, eliminating the previous requirement of completing six months of employment before submitting a request. This change, expected to be introduced alongside other more limited flexible working reforms, may heighten the importance of the right to request flexible working, especially as some employers adopt a stricter stance on office attendance. However, it’s essential to note that the decision to accept or decline such a request remains within the employer’s discretion.

New Statutory Right to Carer’s Leave
From the same date, a new statutory right to Carer’s Leave takes effect. Employees will now have the right to a week’s unpaid leave to care for a dependent. Regardless of the size or nature of your business, it is likely that you employ individuals with caring responsibilities, even if they haven’t disclosed this status before. Businesses should consider updating or creating policies, implementing record-keeping systems to track the number of days taken, and ensuring that people managers are aware of this new right.

Redundancy Protections & Redeployment:
Simultaneously, starting on 06 April 2024, employees who are pregnant or returning from maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave will receive priority status for redeployment opportunities in a redundancy situation. These changes significantly enhance the protection afforded to employees, for example, extending eligibility for protection to 18 months for fathers taking just 6 weeks of shared parental leave. Organisations contemplating or planning restructuring in 2024 should carefully evaluate the implications of these new protections and address any practical issues that may arise.

Paternity Leave Adjustments:
In April 2024, the government is also expected to introduce minor changes to paternity leave. While these adjustments allow for more flexibility by permitting paternity leave to be taken at any time in the first year and split into two separate one-week blocks, the existing six-month qualifying period, overall limit of two weeks’ leave, and low levels of statutory payment will persist. It’s crucial for employers to be aware of these modifications, as they do not significantly expand the scope of paternity leave rights.

Future Legislative Shifts

The subsequent months promise additional legislative shifts, including the implementation of a new law on the fair distribution of tips in July 2024 and a statutory right to request a predictable working pattern in September 2024. However, a pivotal development is the Worker Protection Act, effective from 26 October 2024, mandating employers to proactively prevent workplace sexual harassment. The Equality and Human Rights Commission will provide guidance, setting a crucial standard for employers in a post.

In 2024, we anticipate the government passing the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill. This legislation aims to align with EU data protection standards while introducing some changes that could benefit employers. Notably, it includes a more restricted definition of personal data and the ability to dismiss vexatious or excessive data subject access requests, offering a significant shift in digital information and data protection regulations.

Additionally, there’s an upcoming right to neonatal leave, expected to be effective from April 2025, though there’s a chance it might be implemented sooner.

Interestingly, the government’s approach to introducing new laws has been unconventional. In the 2022/3 Parliament, instead of launching a government-sponsored employment bill, they backed bills from backbench MPs, leading to the introduction of several new rights this year. A noteworthy question arises regarding the government’s future inclination to support private members’ bills. One such bill proposed by Conservative MP Nickie Aiken MP focuses on introducing a statutory right to time off for fertility treatment, a topic gaining attention among employers.

However, there’s been a silence on certain fronts, like non-compete clauses. In 2023, the government announced plans to limit the length of post-employment non-compete clauses to three months. However, the recent opening of the UK parliament did not mention legislation to enact this change, leaving the status uncertain. Employers should stay alert for updates in this area as the legislative landscape evolves.

Looking ahead, the impact of a potential Labour victory in the 2024 general election could usher in significant changes, including a right to not be unfairly dismissed from the first day of employment and a ban on zero-hours contracts. Employers are urged to prepare for these potential reforms, as the landscape of employment law undergoes a transformation.

Noteworthy Employment Cases in 2024

Manjang v Uber Eats – Facial Recognition Software:

Examining whether using facial recognition software to verify the identity of platform workers constitutes race discrimination. This high-profile, union-backed case is currently in the employment tribunal process.

Mercer – Strikes and Employer Response:

Focuses on employer actions in response to strikes, going beyond pay deductions for strike days. The Supreme Court heard the case in December 2023, and a ruling is expected this year, clarifying legitimate measures short of dismissal.

Bathgate v Technip – Settlement Agreements:

Explores the negotiation of settlement agreements with employees for future claims that haven’t yet arisen. The case was heard by the Inner House of the Scottish Court of Session in November 2023, with a ruling anticipated in 2024.

These cases cover diverse aspects of employment law, offering insights into technology-related discrimination, employer responses to strikes, and the legal intricacies of settlement agreements. Employers and legal professionals will closely monitor these cases for their potential impact on employment law dynamics.


In summary, 2024 appears poised for substantial change in employment legislation. Our legal team is committed to supporting businesses in navigating these changes in the evolving landscape of UK employment law.

Please note that this information is for general guidance only and should not substitute professional legal advice. If you have specific concerns, we recommend consulting one of our legal experts.


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