Changes to employment legislation in 2024

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Changes to employment legislation in 2024

2024 brings significant changes to employment legislation, impacting employers and employees alike. Employers should make sure they obtain legal advice to understand these updates in order to maintain compliant practices and foster a positive work environment. This article will dive into a selection of key amendments and the implications they have on employers.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

From 6 April 2024, employees on day one of their employment will have the right to request flexible working. Employees will also be able to make two of these requests in any twelve-month period, previously up from the one request employees were entitled to. Employees will also no longer have to explain the effect of their request.

Employers will now have to decide on the employee’s request within two months. More importantly, under the previous regime, employers could reject any request without a consultation. Under the new Act, however, employers will now have to engage in a consultation with the employee if the employer rejects the request. Employers will therefore need to ensure that they are effectively balanced in providing clear explanations as to why they have rejected the request without opening themselves up to employment claims. Businesses should consider taking practical arrangements, to safeguard against such potential claims, by ensuring their management teams engage in specialised training delivered by employment law experts.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

Employees on maternity leave have enhanced protections in redundancy situations, including the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy over other employees at risk, if such a vacancy is available. This same protection also applies to those who take adoption or shared parental leave.

From 6 April 2024, employees who are pregnant will now also have access to these protections. This is from the moment the employees inform their employer that they are pregnant up until eighteen months after the birth of the child. Therefore, it is important for employers to ensure that they are taking the necessary steps to consider pregnant employees’ rights in redundancies, before anyone else, as failure to do so could lead to possible sex discrimination claims and unfair dismissal claims. It is important for businesses to instruct employment lawyers to review and update their current redundancy policies accordingly.

Carer’s Leave Act 2023

The introduction of this new law, on 6 April 2024, will provide eligible employees with the right to take a maximum of one week of unpaid leave per year to look after someone who relies on them. This is a right that eligible employees have from their first day of their employment.

While employers can’t deny an employee’s request for carer’s leave, employers are able to postpone the request if they reasonably consider that the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted if it were approved. Therefore, it is important for employers to obtain training or advice in relation to the operation of this new law in order to avoid potential discrimination claims.

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023

From October 2024, employers will have a new duty to be more proactive by taking “reasonable steps” in order to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. This legislation will be supplemented by a new statutory code of practice which is being produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Under the new Act, Tribunals have the power to uplift compensation by up to 25% if an employer is found to have breached this duty. Consequently, it is crucial for employers to have robust policies and practices in place in order to ensure they are compliant with this new duty.

Businesses should be looking to introduce various types of practical steps to ensure they are taking “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment.  This can include conducting internal training sessions on regular basis, attending external training sessions delivered by experts in this field, and drafting specific policies dedicated to ensuring the business is actively looking to prevent sexual harassment both inside and outside the workplace.


In conclusion, it is important for employers to be mindful of these upcoming changes in employment law to: a) ensure compliance, b) mitigate the risk of potential claims by employees, and c) maintain a positive workplace environment.

Our specialist employment law team can provide useful guidance and advice about the new mandates and can review existing workplace handbooks and policies to ensure they are up to date.

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