April employment law changes

April employment law changes

**News Alert** IR35 reform postponed to 2021

A raft of employment law changes are coming into effect in April this year including changes to the flexible working rules and other forms of leave such as carers and paternity leave, plus changes to redundancy protections for those on family leave.

The last tranche of the holiday changes has now come into force for irregular hours and part-year workers. Employers will want to update their employee handbooks and policies in light of these changes.

There are several legal changes coming into force in April 2024 in the UK which all employers should be aware of. The key areas of change are summarised below:

Employment right

Changes occurring

Date of change

Redundancy protections extend to pregnant employees and employees returning from family leave

Employees are protected from the date they inform their employer of their pregnancy. This means pregnant employees are granted a special status for the full period of the pregnancy providing a right of first refusal for any suitable alternative employment in redundancy situations.

The relevant protected periods for employees returning from family leave are:

  • Maternity leave: 18 months from the first day of the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) (or from the actual date of birth of the child if the employer is informed in writing).
  • Shared parental leave (SPL): 18 months from the birth (or placement for adoption) providing the employee takes six consecutive weeks of SPL. If fewer than six consecutive weeks of SPL, they will only be protected during SPL.
  • Adoption leave: 18 months from the date of placement for adoption.

6 April 2024

Paternity leave and pay

Changes to how paternity leave can be taken are being implemented meaning employees will be able to take paternity leave at any time in the year after birth or placement for adoption.

Paternity leave can be taken as:

  • a single period of two consecutive weeks; or
  • two non-consecutive periods of one week.

Employees will only be required to give 28 days’ notice of their intention to take paternity leave. However, for domestic adoption cases, the notice period remains within seven days of the adopter having received notice of having been matched with a child.

6 April 2024 

Carer’s leave

Employees are provided with a Day One right to take one week of unpaid leave in any rolling 12-month period to provide and/or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.

Requests must be in writing and can be for consecutive or non-consecutive days (or half days) and can be taken for up to a week in total at a time. Employees are required to give notice being twice the length of the leave being requested or a minimum of three days.

Employers may postpone requested carer’s leave if there is reasonable belief by the employer that the operation of the business would be unduly interrupted.

6 April 2024

Flexible Working

All employees will gain a statutory right to request flexible working. This will be a Day One right and applies irrespective of length of service.

Employees will also be able to make up to two requests in relation to flexible working in a 12-month period. Employers must respond within two months of a request being made and must consult with employees before rejecting any request.

Employees will no longer be required to provide employers with details of how their request for flexible working may impact the employer and how that may be handled by the employer.

6 April 2024

Statutory holiday entitlement for irregular hours workers and part-year workers

Changes are being implemented for irregular-hours workers and part-year workers in relation to their statutory holiday entitlement. 

Holiday entitlement for such workers will be calculated in hours rather than weeks, and will accrue on the last day of each pay period, at the rate of 12.07% of the actual hours worked in that pay period. Employers can choose from two systems of holiday pay, either the usual week’s pay for each week of holiday or alternatively rolled up holiday pay.

1 April 2024

National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

National Living Wage for those 21 and over is increasing to £11.44 per hour.

The changes to National Minimum Wage are:

  • 18-20 rate: £8.60 per hour
  • 16-17 rate: £6.40 per hour
  • Apprentice rate: £6.40 per hour

Live-in employees who carry out domestic work will also become entitled to minimum wage, removing the previous exemptions.

1 April 2024

Vento bands

The President of the Employment Tribunals has recently confirmed an increase in the compensation bands (known as the "Vento" bands) awarded for injury to feelings in discrimination cases. For cases presented on or after 6 April 2024 the "Vento" bands are now as follows:

  • A lower band of £1,200 to £11,700 for less serious cases.
  • A middle band of £11,700 to £35,200 for cases which do not merit an award in the upper band
  • An upper band of £35,200 to £58,700 for the most serious cases

6 April 2024


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