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5 Key HR & Employment Law Updates in 2024

2023 was a busy year in parliament, while all of the media and press focus may have been on things ranging from migrancy and inflation to leadership and national debt; the one thing that was largely underreported in the media was some pretty significant changes to HR & Employment.

What Employment Law Changes are coming in 2024? 

Last year saw Parliament introduce various new employment rights and employer obligations, as well as 7 new PMBs (Private Members Bills). These legislative changes largely come into force across 2024, so you’ll need to have a plan in place before this date.

When you are running a business, staying abreast of these obligations is something that can be incredibly difficult; whatsmore, understanding how these new employment rights will impact your business and the nuances and complexities you already have can create a bit of a proverbial minefield.


Some of the key HR and Employment Law Changes coming in 2024 that we are going to cover in this blog are: 

Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024

Worker Protection (Amendment to Equality Act 2010) Act 2023
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023
Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

Let’s jump straight in.

What is Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 about?

Coming into force on 8th March 2024, the Paternity Leave 2024 Regulations will apply where the expected week of childbirth or placement for adoption begins after 6th April 2024.

Previous to the amendment, employees could only take one period of leave of either one or two weeks, within 8 weeks of the week of childbirth. This is set to change with the amendment meaning that:

  • The employee can choose to take either a one week or a two week single period of leave, or can take two nonconsecutive periods of leave of one week each.
  • The employee can choose to take their paternity leave within 52 weeks of birth.
  • Employees must still tell their employer of their intention to take leave by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, but the employee does not have to give notice of the exact dates until 28 days before the period of leave is due to commence.

These amendments will give the employee a greater level of flexibility, enabling them to provide the most support and best care to their new family.


What is Worker Protection (Amendment to Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 about?

Passed on 20 October 2023, and coming into force in October 2024, the Worker Protection (Amendment to Equality Act 2010) Act 2023.

Passing through the House of Commons unopposed, the act faced some opposition by several members of the House of Lords, which resulted in the bill for the act being amended. However, the passed legislation maintained its purpose as an act to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and drive a culture change.

The Worker Protection Act 2023 introduces a new duty on employers to take all reasonable steps possible to prevent sexual harassment. Some of these steps include installing suitable policies, training managers and workers on the policies and setting out a protocol for investigating allegations with impartiality and purpose.  

The Act amendment also serves to financially punish employers who do to comply, with a the prospect of a potential 25% uplift in damages should the employer not have done enough to investigate and resolve sexual harassment issues. 

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What is Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 about?

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, received Royal Assent on 20th July 2023, and comes into force on 6th April 2024.

This Act serves a two-fold purpose; the first is to increase the number of requests an employee can make to their employer for flexible working, and also changes the feedback loop that employers must consider these requests against.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 effectively scraps the current minimum 26 week service requirement before an employee can request flexible working. This means that flexible working can be requested from day one of their employment.

From the 6th April 2024, employees will be allowed to make two flexible working requests in any 12 month period, an increase from the current one request per 12 months. It is also legislated that employers must consult with their employees before rejecting a request for flexible work, suggest appropriate alternatives and endeavour to respond to requests within two months (including the request processing, consultation and appeal processes).

These amendments to the Act are designed to make it easier for employees to find a working pattern and format that works best for them, and gives the flexibility to balance work with home-life and mental health needs too.

What is Workers (Predictable Terms & Conditions) Act 2023 about?

The Workers (Predictable Terms & Conditions) Act 2023, received Royal Assent on 18th September 2023 and will come into force in September 2024.

This Act serves to give statutory rights to workers who request a more predictable working pattern, so that workers under atypical contracts can get more predictability terms and conditions allowing for things like better personal financial planning, and time planning for the employee. This Act primarily is focused on individuals such as fixed-term workers, agency workers, and those engaged under zero-hour contracts.

The right to request predictable working patterns will operate in a similar way to the flexible working act, whereby employers will be required to provide feedback and alternative suggestions if the requested predictable working patterns can not be established.

However it should be noted, that the specifics of draft regulations have not yet been published (at the time of writing), and these regulations will shed more light on how this will operate and the exacting implications for employers.

What is Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 about?

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, received Royal Assent in May 2023 and will come into force on 6th April 2024.

Prior to the passing of this Act, employees on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave have been given priority over other employee statuses in finding alternative roles when their existing role is being made redundant.

This new legislation will serve to extend and increase the protection given to those on pregnancy or family leave for a longer period of time up to a time period of 18 months.

So, regardless as to whether the employees’ circumstances surround pregnancy, adoption, or shared parental leave; from the moment the employer is notified of pregnancy (or adoption date), the employer will be required to protect the employee from redundancy for up to 18 months after the birth or adoption of the child.

What does this mean for your business?

Through our conversations with clients over the last couple of months, particularly those that operate in the healthcare, education and charity sector, where hours of work and working patterns can fluctuate depending on working demand etc. a lot of concern and worry has been expressed.

While, we are not HR experts or legal experts; as DBS Check and Digital Identity Check providers, we are experts in pre-screening and background checking.

As such, we can’t give you advice on how to deal with the latest employment legislation from a HR perspective, but we can tell you that hiring the right candidates for your next upcoming position is now of even more importance; as with the extension of employee rights and the corresponding increase in cost base for your business; and it is more important now that ever that your future hires are driving real value for your business, so in the times that they need more flexibility, more leave, or greater protections from you; they are doing this from a position of historic employment value.

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