2024 will be an exceptionally busy year for employers, with a host of new statutory rights to get to grips with.
New regulations in relation to holiday pay come into force on 1 January 2024 (although some of the most significant changes, those applying to part-year and irregular hours workers, will apply only to holiday years beginning on or after 1 April 2024.
April 2024 will see a host of changes, including:
- A new Code of Practice on dismissal and re-engagement (so-called “fire and rehire”).
- Flexible working will become a day 1 right for all employees (with a new Code of Practice in place emphasising that employers should accommodate these requests where possible).
- The extension of protection against redundancy for those on maternity leave to pregnant women, employees who have suffered a miscarriage and employees returning from maternity, shared parental or adoption leave. These employees will be entitled to be offered a suitable alternative role if one is available.
- Carer's leave (the right to take a week's unpaid leave for the purposes of arranging or providing care to a person with a long-term care need who reasonably relies on the employee).
- Increase to minimum wage rates (including the fact that all workers aged 21 and over will now be entitled to the highest rate, the “national living wage”).
TUPE changes will apply to TUPE transfers taking place on or after 1 July 2024: these will enable employers to consult directly with employees (rather than elected employee representatives) where the business employs fewer than 50 employees or fewer than 10 employees are transferring.
From September, it's anticipated that the new right to request a predictable pattern of work will come into force. This will apply to workers with varying hours, agency workers and workers on fixed term contracts lasting less than a year.
Then in October, the duty on employers to take steps to prevent sexual harassment will come into force - with a possible uplift of up to 25% to an Employment Tribunal compensation award for such harassment where the employer has failed in this duty.
Many of these changes will require changes to existing policies, contracts and HR practice - in some cases, the additional compliance burden will be very significant. HR leaders and business owners should invest time now in preparing for the changes to ensure that they are not caught unawares.