Scrase Law Employment Solicitors

What’s changing for employers in April?

April is normally a busy time of year for employers and HR professionals, and this year is no exception.  A number of changes are coming into force and employers should consider reviewing and, if necessary, updating their policies and procedures to ensure that they are up to date.

Flexible working requests

Amended provisions on flexible working requests are due to come into force on 6 April 2024.  The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 will make changes so that:

  • Employees will be able to make two applications for flexible working within a 12-month period, rather than one
  • The employee will no longer have state what they think the impact of their request would have and how this might be dealt with by their employer
  • An application cannot be refused unless the employee has been consulted about the application.
  • The decision period will be reduced from three months to two, unless it is agreed that this will be extended

In addition, the requirement for an employee to have 26 weeks’ service in order to make a request will be removed.  This means that the right to request flexible working will apply from day one of employment.  A new Statutory ACAS Code of Practice, which sets out guidance for employers, is awaiting Parliamentary approval.

Carers leave

Regulations introducing a new statutory right to carer’s leave are due to come into force on 6 April 2024. Employees will have a new entitlement to take one week’s unpaid leave in each rolling 12 month period to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.  

The new right will apply from day one of employment.  The leave can be requested as individual days or half-days and does not need to be taken on consecutive days.  Employees will need to give twice the amount of notice of their intention to take leave as the amount of leave requested, or three days’ notice if greater.  The notice does not have to be in writing.  The employer cannot require an employee to supply evidence in relation to the request for leave before granting the leave. 

Employees will be protected from detriment and dismissal due to the fact that they took or sought to take carer’s leave.

Holiday leave and pay

New provisions on holiday leave and pay will apply in relation to irregular hours workers and part-year workers where the holiday year starts on or after 1 April 2024.  The new provisions include:

  • A method of holiday accrual based on 12.07% of the hours worked in the previous pay period; and
  • Permitting rolled-up holiday pay.

Further details of the provisions and issues for employers to consider are set out in our separate post here.

Extended redundancy protection

New provisions will come into force extending the protection currently available to eligible women when a redundancy situation arises.  A woman on maternity leave is entitled, if her role is being made redundant, to be offered alternative employment in any suitable vacancy available.  This gives an employee on maternity leave priority over other employees who are also at risk of redundancy.   

This period of protection is extended to cover pregnancy, so that redundancy protection will start when the employee tells her employer about her pregnancy.  These provisions will apply where the employer is informed of the employee’s pregnancy on or after 1 April 2024.  

The period of protection is also extended to the period of 18 months from the expected week of childbirth, or the date of the child’s birth (if the employee has informed the employer of the child’s date of birth).  These provisions will apply to any maternity leave ending on or after 6 April 2024.  Similar provisions apply in relation to adoption and shared parental leave.

Paternity leave

Changes to paternity leave provisions have already come into force, which apply where the expected week of childbirth is after 6 April 2024.  Paternity leave can be taken as two non-consecutive blocks of one week, rather than only in one block of either one or two weeks.  Leave and pay can be taken at any point in the first year after the birth of the child, rather than only within the first eight weeks after birth.  There are also changes to the notice periods required. 

Comment

We can help you to review and update your policies.  Contact us for further information.

26 March 2024

If you would like to receive monthly employment law updates and news of our events, sign up for our email alerts.

©2024 SCRASE LAW LTD. THIS POST IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND IS NOT ADVICE. YOU ARE RECOMMENDED TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION ON THE BASIS OF THIS POST