Several employment law changes are expected in 2024, bringing shifts that will impact business operations and HR in the UK. HR professionals at the forefront of managing these transitions must be well-informed and proactive in adapting their policies and practices to ensure compliance and foster a positive work environment.
Let’s delve into the key changes to employment law set to take effect in 2024.
Employment Law Changes and Minimum Wage Increase: Ensuring Fair Compensation
One of the most noticeable shifts on the horizon is the increase in the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage from April 1, 2024. This change, affecting employees aged 21 and over, emphasises the government’s commitment to fair compensation for workers. HR departments must update their payroll systems and communicate these changes transparently to ensure compliance.
Holiday Entitlement and Pay: Navigating the New Regulations
The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023 bring sweeping changes to how holiday entitlement accrues, especially for those with irregular hours and part-year workers. The introduction of rolled-up holiday pay for this category requires HR professionals to reevaluate their payment structures and adapt accordingly. The adjustments need to be implemented by April 1, 2024, highlighting the urgency for HR teams to ensure a smooth transition.
Flexible Working: Embracing Procedural Changes
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 introduces procedural employment law changes to flexible working requests, empowering employees to make two requests annually. Importantly, the extension of the right to make a flexible working request from the first day of employment revolutionises the traditional waiting period. HR departments need to align with these changes and modify their internal processes accordingly. Effective from April 6, 2024, this adjustment reflects a paradigm shift in how organisations approach employee flexibility.
Atypical Working: Recognising Statutory Rights
The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023, expected to be effective around September 2024, introduces a statutory right for workers under atypical contracts to request more predictable terms and conditions of work. This shift is particularly relevant for gig economy workers, emphasising the need for HR professionals to anticipate these requests and develop strategies for seamless integration.
Harassment: A Proactive Approach
The Workers Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023, effective from October 2024, places a significant responsibility on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. This proactive approach necessitates HR teams to implement robust anti-harassment policies, educate employees on the new regulations, and establish mechanisms for reporting and addressing harassment cases. The potential 25% uplift in compensation for breached duties adds a financial incentive for organisations to prioritise a safe and inclusive work environment.
New Forms of Family Leave: Adapting to Employee Needs
The Carer’s Leave Act 2023, effective from April 6, 2024, introduces a valuable entitlement of one week’s unpaid leave annually for employees providing care for a dependant. This emphasises the growing recognition of the diverse needs of the workforce. Similarly, the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023, while not expected until April 2025, introduces statutory paid leave for employed parents whose newborns require neonatal care. HR professionals should proactively communicate these benefits, reinforcing a supportive workplace culture.
Protection from Redundancy: Prioritising Pregnant Employees
The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, effective from April 6, 2024, introduces safeguards for pregnant employees or those recently returning from parental leave. Ensuring priority status for redeployment opportunities during redundancies highlights the importance of protecting employees during crucial and transformative life stages. HR teams should comprehensively review and update redundancy procedures to align with these new guidelines.
Next Steps for Employers: Navigating Employment Law Changes
In light of these employment law changes, HR professionals face the crucial task of navigating their organisations through a transformative period. Here are key steps to ensure a smooth transition:
- Educate and Communicate: Thoroughly educate employees about the upcoming changes and communicate the adaptations in policies and procedures.
- Update Policies and Procedures: Review and update existing policies and procedures to align with the new legal landscape. Ensure that employee handbooks reflect the latest changes.
- Training and Development: Conduct training sessions for HR staff and line managers to equip them with the knowledge to implement and enforce the new regulations effectively.
- Technology Integration: Leverage technology to streamline HR processes affected by these changes. Ensure payroll and leave management systems are updated to accommodate the amended holiday pay rules.
- Legal Consultation: Consider seeking legal counsel to ensure compliance with the intricate details of the new employment law changes. Contact our employment law specialists at Redmans Solicitors for a comprehensive consultation on these upcoming changes. Our legal professionals can provide valuable insights into best practices and mitigate risks.
Conclusion: A Proactive Approach to Employment Law Changes
As HR professionals brace themselves for the influx of employment law changes in 2024, a proactive and strategic approach is paramount. By staying informed, communicating effectively, and adapting swiftly, HR teams can not only ensure legal compliance but also foster a workplace culture that prioritises the well-being and rights of employees.
The upcoming year presents an opportunity for organisations to reevaluate their approach to employment, reinforcing fairness, equality, and inclusivity in the workplace while staying aligned with the upcoming changes to employment law.
Get in contact with our team of expert employment law specialists to discuss the new 2024 employment law changes through the Redmans website.