Publish date

30 April 2024

Key employment law changes: April 2024

In this article we summarise some of the key employment law developments which came into effect in April 2024. April is always a busy month for employment law changes and this year is no different.

Increase to the National Minimum Wage

Following recommendations by the Low Pay Commission in November 2023, the national minimum wage was increased from 1 April 2024.

The headline rate is now £11.44 for workers aged 21 and over.  The exemption for domestic workers, such as au pairs and nannies, was removed.

Our previous article on the changes to minimum wage can be found here.

Paternity Leave

Expectant fathers and partners can still request up to two weeks’ statutory paternity leave. For children with an expected week of childbirth after 6 April 2024, greater flexibility is given to new fathers as to when and how they can choose to take their paternity leave.

Paternity leave can now be taken at any stage during the first year of their child’s life and new fathers may elect to split their two week leave entitlement into blocks during this time.

Our previous article on the new paternity leave rules can be found here

Changes to holiday pay and entitlement

For holiday years commencing on or after 1 April 2024, there are new rules for calculating holiday pay and entitlement for ‘irregular hours’ and ‘part-year’ workers.

Irregular workers are individuals who work ‘wholly or mostly’ variable hours in a pay period. For example, zero-hour workers. Part-year workers are individuals who only work for part of the year and are not paid for any period unworked. For example, teaching assistants, who are only paid when working during school termtime.

Irregular workers and part-year workers are entitled to holiday pay calculated as 12.07% of the hours worked in a pay period.

Employers now also have the choice to elect to pay holiday in a rolled-up payment by including an additional sum in each month’s pay.

Employers should consider the actual working hours and patterns of employees to determine the holiday pay entitlement of any irregular hours workers and part-year workers, to ensure the correct calculations are made and paid.

These changes are explained in more detail here.

Carer’s Leave

With effect from 6 April 2024, employees have a day one right to take a week’s unpaid leave per year to care for a dependant.

Employees can take the week’s leave in half or full day increments. Dependants include a child, spouse, parent, and any person who reasonably relies on the employee for assistance in the event of illness or injury.

For further details of carers’ leave, please read our previous article here.

Injury to feelings compensation increases

The ‘Vento bands’ provide guidance to Tribunals when determining the value of compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination cases. The annual increase to the ‘Vento bands’ applied from 6 April 2024, in line with inflation and the Retail Prices Index. This years’ increases are the highest ever year on year increase.

Our article exploring these changes is here.

Right to request flexible working

From 6 April 2024, employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements from the first day of their employment. Employees will be allowed to make two requests for flexible working per year.

Previously, the right to request flexible working only applied to employees after 26 weeks’ employment and employees were restricted to making only one request per year. Employers were formerly required to provide a response to a flexible working request within three months. Now, employers must consult with employees and are obliged to respond within 2 months.

Employers should note that any flexible working requests should be considered in line with the ACAS Code of Practice and failure to do so, may be considered by an Employment Tribunal.

Flexible working policies should be revised to stay up to date.

For more details on this change see our previous article here.

Key considerations for employers

We recommend that employers take a pro-active rather than reactive approach in making themselves aware of the legislation changes, to ensure they are aware of any new or amended obligations. In particular, employers should be aware of the new ‘day one’ rights for new starters and also consider the impact of the new rights to which existing employees will also be entitled to with effect from April 2024.

If you have any questions about the new changes, or any other employment law issue, please get in contact with a member of our Employment team.

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