What’s coming up in employment law for 2024?

As we gear up to hit 2024, it’s your responsibility as an employer to keep tabs on any changes in employment law.

First published on Monday, Dec 04, 2023

Last updated on Monday, Dec 04, 2023

4 min read

Making sure you’re up to date with the latest legislation is key to ensuring your business is in line with the law.

Being prepared helps you avoid costly employment tribunal fines. In this blog, we’ll take you through two major employment law updates that you need to know to protect your business and your people in 2024.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

*What’s changing? *

  • The flexible working system is being reworked with the introduction of Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023.
  • Employees will have the right to request flexible working arrangements from the start and they can make more than one request.
  • Employers will have to be speedy in dealing with those requests too. Plus, the Act changes some existing rules on flexible working requests, making them clearer and easier to understand.

Breakdown of the new law:

  • Employees can request flexible working from day one.
  • You must consult with employees before rejecting requests.
  • Employees no longer need to explain what impact, if any, the change will have on you or your business.
  • Employees can make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period.
  • You must respond to a request made within two months.

Key impacts for you:

  • As attitudes towards flexible working continue to shift, you must prioritise getting your approach right.
  • With the rise of hybrid working models and the competitive advantage that flexible working offers, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure your policies and practices reflect the changing landscape.
  • To prepare for this change, you should review your flexible working policies and provide training for managers on how to handle requests.
  • You should also plan communication strategies to inform staff of any changes.

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023

What’s changing?

  • Neonatal parents currently rely on their existing statutory leave entitlements to take time off work while their baby is in the hospital.
  • The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 will change that.
  • Parents of babies who are admitted to the hospital before 28 days old are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of leave, on top of their maternity or paternity leave.
  • This new law will provide more support to parents during difficult times and help them focus on their baby’s care without missing out on their maternity or paternity leave.

Breakdown of the new law:

  • Employees must be parents of babies who are admitted to hospital up to 28 days after birth.
  • Eligible employees will be able to take up to 12 weeks of leave from day one.
  • Employees will be entitled to also take other leave such as maternity or paternity.
  • Statutory neonatal pay will be set at the same rate as other family-friendly statutory payments.
  • Employees will need at least 26 weeks of service to qualify for paid leave.
  • Dismissing an employee for a reason connected with neonatal care leave will be automatically unfair.

Key impacts for you:

  • You will need to include this new type of leave in your family-friendly policies and procedures. So, you should start to think about developing new policies or enhancing your existing ones.
  • It’s best practice to be compassionate and flexible and tailor them to your employees’ needs, as many employees have different parenthood experiences.

What’s the timeline for this change?

  • The Act received Royal Assent on 24 May 2023 and will likely come into effect in April 2025 with more information available in October 2024.

Want to find out what else is on the horizon for 2024? Download our full in-depth guide for FREE and get essential advice as well as resources to help you stay informed and get ahead of major changes on the horizon.

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