April 2024 brings with it many changes to HR and employment legislation.

For those who were able to join me at our Employment Law Update webinar on 13 March 2024, this is a reminder of the key changes, now in force.

  1. Flexible Working

Employees can now request flexible working from day one of their employment. There is no service requirement.

An employee can make up to 2 flexible working requests in a 12-month period, and employers are required to consult with an employee before rejecting a request.

There is also in place a new Acas Code of Practice on requests for flexible working to reflect the above changes and support employers and employees with the new scheme.

  1. Carer’s leave

Employees are now entitled to 1 week’s unpaid carer’s leave in each 12 month rolling period for provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care.

Carer’s leave may be taken in either individual days or half days, up to a block of one week, and need not be taken on consecutive days. The required notice period is either twice as many days as the period of leave required, or three days, whichever is the greater.

An employer cannot decline a request altogether but may postpone carer’s leave where it reasonably considers that the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted if it allowed the leave during the requested period.

  1. Paternity leave

Statutory paternity leave can be taken to within 52 weeks of the child’s birth or placement, and in two separate blocks of one week.  The notice requirements to take, or vary, the leave are also amended to 28 days.

  1. Additional redundancy protection

When considering how to choose between employees for any available jobs, employers should be aware that if any of its potentially redundant employees fall into one of the following categories, they have an automatic right to be offered any suitable vacancies:

  • Employee on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.
  • Employees who are have notified their employer of their pregnancy.
  • Employees who have recently returned from a period of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave and are still within 18 months of the date of the birth or placement of the child.
  1. Annual leave for irregular hours and part-year workers

The new annual leave rules relating to irregular hours and part-year workers apply in respect of any holiday leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024. The Department for Business and Trade has now also updated its guidance on the new rules: Holiday Pay and Entitlement DBT Guidance April 2024.  Please also see our newsletter dated 17 November 2023:  Significant Changes to Holiday Rules

It is important to review your contracts and handbooks to bring them up to date with these changes.

If you have any questions please contact Kate Lawson: katelawson@elementlaw.co.uk