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Upcoming UK Employment Law Changes in 2024

Updated: Jan 12




2024 will bring some interesting Employment Law changes, check out our rundown of the top four to look out for as either an employee or an employer.


1. National Minumum Wage


As of April 2024, the National minimum wage will increase. These changes represent a 9.8%. The new rates are as follows;


  • National Minimum Wage (Age 21+) £11.44

  • Age 18-20 £8.60

  • Age 16-17 £6.40

  • Apprentices £6.40

What else has changed?


The government also lowered the age at which people qualify for the national living wage, from 23 to 21 years old. This means that employees aged 21 and 22 currently on the national minimum wage of £10.18 will receive a £1.26 or 12.6% increase to £11.44.


Do you have to pay the National Minimum Wage?


It's illegal for employers not to pay employees at least the National Minimum Wage in the UK. Employees can take Employers to the Employment Tribunal if they are not paid correctly or make a complaint to HMRC. Rates are different based on age and whether you're employing Apprentices. If you don't pay the minimum wage you could be liable for fines and any awards given if the case is taken to an Employment Tribunal. In 2023 alone companies like Argos, WHSmith and Marks & Spencer were ordered to pay nearly £7 million to employees who didn't receive the National Minimum Wage. There's more information on what happens when people are not paid the National Minimum Wage here; https://www.acas.org.uk/national-minimum-wage-entitlement/if-an-employer-does-not-pay-minimum-wage#:~:text=If%20an%20employee%20or%20worker,type%20of%20claim%20they%20make.


You can see more about the National Minimum Wage here; https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates


2. Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023


Targeted at those on zero-hours contracts and atypical working patterns, the new law means after 26 weeks people who don't have a fixed working pattern will have the right to request more predictable working patterns. The key thing here is employers don't have to grant these working patterns, but people are able to ask for them. You can see more about the new law here; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-get-more-power-over-working-hours-thanks-to-new-law


3. Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act


The new Act makes changes to the way flexible working requests are handled by businesses, the key changes are summarised below;


The new law will make four key changes to the way we do things now;


  1. The new law will enable employees to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period, and requires employers to respond to requests within two months of receiving them which is shorter than when employers have to respond by now.

  2. Secondary legislation is also due to be passed which will mean that employees can make a flexible working request from their first day of employment, not just after 26 weeks, we're just waiting for this part to be enacted.

  3. Employees will also no longer have to explain the impact that granting the request would have on their role and how that might be dealt with by the organisation. At the moment, when making a request employees have to include this information.

  4. Managers will not be able to refuse a request until they have consulted with the staff member, although we would always recommend that organisations speak to their people when they make a request.


4. Carer's Leave Act


The new Act will introduce up to 1 week of unpaid leave for those who need to arrange long-term care for a dependant. The right to leave will be available to employees from day 1 and a dependant can be defined as a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, a person who lives in the same household as the employee (other than by reason of them being their employee, tenant, lodger or boarder), or the wider catch-all provision, of a person who reasonably relies on the employee for care.


Carer's Leave can be taken in the following ways;


  • Employees using the leave must take a minimum of half a working day at a time; a working day means the employee’s usual working pattern. There is no need for the leave to be used on consecutive days either. Employees could therefore take five separate days over a 12-month rolling period.

  • Employees are required to provide notice, although this does not need to be in writing. The notice must include the fact that the employee is entitled to take carer’s leave and the day(s) that will be taken.

  • Employees will be required to give notice which is either twice the length of time being requested, or three days, whichever is the longest. Employers can choose to waive the need to provide notice if they wish.



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Disclaimer

  • All information within the post is provided for guidance only; always seek your own legal advice.

  • The information with this post was correct at the time of publishing, December 2023 but may be subject to change.


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