A number of important changes in Employment Law are set to come into force in 2024. Increases to the National Living Wage, amendments to the Equality Act, and further protections from redundancy are just some of the developments we can expect to see.
We’ve provided an overview of the changes below.
Increase in Minimum Wage
The National Living and Minimum Wage rates are set to increase from 1 April 2024. These rates provide employees with a statutory employment right to a wage not lower than that set by the Government.
Of particular interest is that the Government has lowered the age of those eligible to receive the National Living Wage from 23 to 21 and over. The 21- to 22-year-old age bracket has been removed altogether.
As of 1 April 2024, the new hourly rates will be:
- National Living Wage – increase from £10.42 to £11.44
- 18 – 20 year old rate – increase from £7.49 to £8.60
- 16 – 17 year old rate – increase from £5.28 to £6.4
- Apprentice rate – increase from £5.28 to £6.40
Changes to Holiday Entitlement and Holiday Pay
Following consultation, the Government has suggested amendments to the calculation of holiday entitlement and holiday pay under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“WTR”).
Under the WTR, workers are entitled to a total of 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave each year, and this is split into two categories:
- Regulation 13 of WTR provides a worker with 4 weeks paid annual leave
- Regulation 13A of WTR provides an addition 1.6 weeks paid annual leave
Despite consideration to merge the two entitlements, the Government has decided to retain them and allow for differential pay rates.
Workers will be entitled to receive 4 weeks paid annual leave at their ‘normal’ rate of pay, and the additional 1.6 weeks paid annual leave being will be made at a basic week’s pay.
The WTR will be amended to include an accrual method to calculate holiday entitlement for workers who undertake irregular working patterns, and part-year workers.
Under the new legislation, employers will base the holiday entitlement on 12.07% of the hours worked in a pay period. The workers will receive their holiday pay at the time the work is carried out as opposed to when the worker’s holiday is taken.
Changes to TUPE
The Government has proposed reforms to the existing TUPE consultation requirements. The new changes will affect ‘small businesses’ carrying out TUPE transfers on or after 1 July 2024.
Small businesses are defined as those with less than 50 employees, and they will no longer be required to appoint employee representatives for the purposes of consultation.
Changes to the Equality Act
From 1 January 2024, there are several changes set to become effective as a result of the Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Regulations 2023.
The changes are designed to incorporate elements of EU discrimination law which would have otherwise disappeared as a result of Brexit. These changes include:
- The guidance on the definition of discrimination will expand to include a person’s ability to participate in working life on an equal basis with other workers when looking at ‘day-to-day activities.’
- The ability to claim indirect discrimination by association.
- The addition of a single source test for establishing an equal pay comparator.
- Confirmation that employment discrimination on the grounds of breastfeeding will fall under the protected characteristic of sex.
Protection from Redundancy – Pregnancy and Family Leave
In 2024, there are set to be a number of extensions for the period of special protection from redundancy in relation to employees who are on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave. The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 is expected to bring in the following extensions:
- Maternity leave– The protected period shall extend to 18 months from the first day of the estimated week of childbirth, and this can be changed to be 18 months from the date of birth if this date is given to the employer before the end of maternity leave.
- Adoption leave – The protected period will cover 18 months from the date of the placement of adoption.
- Shared parental leave – The protected period will cover 18 months from birth, on the condition that the parent has taken at least 6 consecutive weeks of shared leave.
Sexual Harassment – Duty of Employers from October 2024
The Worker Protection Act 2024, which will come into force in October 2024, will mean Employers will be faced with a heightened burden of proof requiring them to demonstrate their efforts to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. As a result, employers will need to take a proactive approach to prevent sexual harassment in order to comply with the new regulations.
For further information or advice on any of the above Employment Law developments, you can get in touch with our Employment Law Team on 01743 248545 or email@example.com.