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Changes to employment rights during April 2024

View profile for Martin Cornforth
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Paternity Leave

On 7 March 2024, the Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/329) were made. The regulations introduce the following key changes:

  • To allow fathers and partners to take paternity leave as two non-consecutive blocks of one week, rather than only in one block of either one or two weeks.
  • To allow fathers and partners to take their leave at any point in the first year after the birth or adoption of their child, rather than only within the first eight weeks after adoption or birth.
  • To shorten, in most cases, the notice period required for each period of leave.
  • To allow a father or partner who has given an initial notice to vary any dates given if they give 28 days' notice of the variation.

The changes will take effect in relation to children whose expected week of childbirth is after 6 April 2024 and children whose expected date of placement for adoption, or expected date of entry into Great Britain for adoption, is on or after 6 April 2024.

Holiday pay- irregular hours and part-year workers

The Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023 came into force from 1 January 2024, but only apply to leave years beginning after 31st March 2024.

An accrual method for calculating holiday entitlement is permitted for irregular hours workers and part-year workers. Entitlement can be calculated as 12.07% of hours worked in a pay period, reverting to the method commonly used before Harpur. The figure of 12.07% is derived from the fact that 12.07% is 5.6 ÷ 46.4, where 5.6 is the statutory annual leave entitlement and 46.4 is the number of working weeks in a year after statutory annual leave is deducted.

The draft regulations state that a person is a part-year worker:

if, under the terms of their contract, they are required to work only part of that year and there are periods within that year (during the term of the contract) of at least a week which they are not required to work and for which they are not paid.

And a person is an irregular hours worker:

if the number of paid hours that they will work in each pay period during the term of their contract in that year is, under the terms of their contract, wholly or mostly variable.

Rolled-up holiday pay, already commonly used, will be formally endorsed for irregular hours workers and part-year workers only. Rolled-up holiday involves paying the employee their accrued leave together with their usual wages, regardless of whether the employee has actually taken leave.

Protection from redundancy during or after pregnancy or periods of family leave

The Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024  come into force on 6th April 2024, extending the period of special protection from redundancy for employees who are on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave.

Parents on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave should be offered any suitable alternative employment in a redundancy situation. The protection will apply for 18 months from either the expected week of childbirth or the placement for adoption. The same applies to Shared Parental Leave provided that the parent has taken a period of at least 6 consecutive weeks leave. The protected period can be changed in certain circumstances.

This means that for the first time the protected period applies both during pregnancy and after Statutory Maternity Leave has ended. The extended period applies where the employer is notified of the pregnancy or the applicable leave ends on or after 6th April 2024.

Carer's leave

The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 will come into force on 6th April 2024. The regulations introduce a day one right for carers to submit a written request for one week's unpaid leave in a 12-month period. Although the unpaid leave does not need to be taken consecutively, employees must give notice, which is either twice as many days as the period of leave required, or three days, whichever is the greater.

The employer can postpone the leave if there is a legitimate reason but must then allow the leave to be taken within one month of the of the leave date originally requested.

As with other rights employees are protected from detriment and dismissal because they take, or seek to take, carer’s leave (or the employer believes they are likely to do so).

Flexible working

From 6 April 2024, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 will make changes to the right to request flexible working so that:

  • Employees will no longer have to explain what effect their request may have on the employer and how any such effect might be dealt with.
  • Employees will be entitled to make two requests in any 12-month period.
  • Employers will not be able to refuse a request without consulting the employee.
  • Employers will have to make a decision in two months, unless a longer decision period is agreed by both parties.

National Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2024, workers aged 21 and over will be entitled to the National Living Wage and rates are updated as follows:

             21 and over       18 to 20        Under 18       Apprentice

April 2024      £11.44               £8.60              £6.40             £6.40

The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/75) will come into force on 1st April 2024, removing the exemption from the national minimum wage for live-in domestic workers.


If you are an employer, or employee who needs guidance on any of the above matters, we are here to help.  Please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Law Team on 01522 814638, or make an enquiry here.