Having had a few quiet years with hardly any changes to HR legislation, 2023 saw things spring back to life and a number of different pieces of proposed legislation work their way through the system to gain Royal Assent, with 2024 already seeming to follow suit.  Meaning that in 2024, there are quite a few changes to come into effect, and policies and procedures will need to be tweaked accordingly.  Some changes have agreed implementation dates, and some changes although approved in principle are still awaiting their effective dates.

To help you stay ahead of the changes and understand when these changes will become applicable to your business, we have summarised some of the upcoming changes for you, it’s a bit of a long read, but important to be aware.  If you would like help to update your policies and navigate your way through 2024, then contact us for more information at hello@metrohr.co.uk

Flexible Working

Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023

On 20th July 2023 the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 aka The Flexible Working Bill received Royal Assent resulting in proposed changes in the way a flexible working request by an employee should be handled by an employer.

The key changes that will take effect are.

  • Two statutory requests can be made by an employee, to an employer in a 12-month period and the employer is obliged to consider them, this has increased from the current one statutory request per year. However, the two requests cannot be made at the same time.
  • The time period for employers to respond to the request has reduced from 3 months to 2 months, unless all agree a different time period.
  • Employees will no longer be required to explain what the effect of their proposed change will have on the business.
  • Employers will need to consult with employees in relation to the request and consider alternatives with the employee– this should open up conversations and explore different options.

These changes will be effective from 6th April 2024.  It was hoped the changes approved in July 2023 would include a provision to have the right to request flexible working as a day one right, removing the 26 weeks continuous service qualification period, but it wasn’t included.  This has since been remedied under the Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 which went to parliament on 11th December 2023 when the day one right to request flexible working was approved, so removing the need for an employee to have 26 weeks continuous service before they could make a request.  The decision in December has not provided for a date of effect, but it is most likely and therefore expected that it will also be applicable from 6th April 2023, but we have to watch this space for now.

ACAS are helpfully updating their flexible working guidance and code of practice and are working towards developing a useful toolkit for employers.

Right to Request a Predictable Working Pattern

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

This Act is expected to come into force around September 2024 having received Royal Assent on 18th September 2023.

This Act will give all workers on temporary or Zero-hour contracts the right to make a request for a more predictable working pattern if there is a lack of predictability around their work pattern or if they are working on a fixed term of up to 12 months in length.

There will be a requirement that the workers have 26 weeks’ continuous service, and they will be able to make two statutory applications within a 12-month period.

Decisions must be made by the employer within one month of a request and they may only be rejected on statutory grounds.

ACAS will produce a code of practice on how to handle requests.

Grounds of refusal to a request could be:

  • Burden of additional costs
  • If it has a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand.
  • Detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff
  • Detrimental impact on other aspects of the employer’s business.
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods the worker proposes to work
  • Planned structural changes
  • Such other grounds as may be specified in regulations.

Private Members' Bills

Three Private Members’ Bills received Royal Assent in May 2023 to extend certain provisions within the family friendly employment law rights area.

Carers Leave Act

On the 4th December 2023 the Carers Leave Act came into force but will not apply to employers until 6th April 2024.

This Act will give employees from their first day of employment the right to take one week’s unpaid leave every year which they can use flexibly as whole or half days.  This is to provide or arrange care for a dependent.

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act

The expected implementation date for this Act is not until April 2025.

When this comes into application, employees will have the right to take leave from work if their baby receives neonatal care for more than seven continuous days before the baby reaches 28 days of life.

The length of the leave they will be entitled to will depend on how long their baby receives neonatal care, but it could be for up to 12 weeks.  The leave will be paid in line with maternity/paternity rules.

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act.

There is currently no date for implementation of this Act.

This change in the law will give employees who are pregnant or have returned recently from a period of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave additional protection should they find themselves in a redundancy situation.  The redundancy protection period will apply from the point pregnancy is announced to up to six months after returning to work following family leave and means during the period of protection the employee must be offered any alternative vacancies to mitigate the impact of a redundancy.

Paternity Leave

The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 which were proposed to come into force in March 2024 have now been laid before parliament, and we await the outcome.

The proposals would allow for two blocks of one week of paternity leave to be taken rather than the current position which says someone can take one week or two but in one block only.

The time in which paternity leave can be taken will increase to a year from the current 56 days after the birth.

Notice periods for asking to take paternity leave are proposed to be shortened (with the exception of adoption where the 7 days’ notice will still apply).

Finally, once notice has been given for paternity leave 28 days’ notice can be given to vary the time booked to enable more flexibility.

Holiday Pay, Working Time Regulations and TUPE Consultation

Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023

This new legislation around holiday pay for part-year workers effectively reverses the Supreme Court’s decision in the Harpur and Brazel tribunal case which resulted in rolled up holiday pay being confirmed as unlawful and a requirement that all part-year or irregular hours workers were given 5.6 weeks leave regardless of the irregularity of their work.  A government consultation has taken place and this is the outcome.  For leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024 employers will be able to pay rolled-up holiday pay again, which will now be deemed to be lawful, not unlawful.  It will be calculated at the end of each pay period at the rate of 12.07% of the hours worked in that period up to a maximum of 28 days.

Within the Working Time Regulations the need to record all working hours and rest hours has been removed, as long as an employer can demonstrate compliance with the working time regulations without additional records.

From 1st July 2024 it will be possible to consult with employees directly on a Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment rights (TUPE) transfer if there are no existing employee representatives in place and the business has fewer than 50 employees or 10 or fewer employees are being transferred.

Duty to Prevent Sexual Harassment

Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act) Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 26th October 2023 and will come into effect in October 2024.

This Act creates a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and requires employers to adopt a more proactive approach to mitigating the potential for sexual harassment to occur in the working environment.  The Law Society Gazette suggests a number of measures that employers could take including:

  • A Board-level designate to be accountable for delivering on the decision.
  • Sexual harassment to be treated as a risk, like other health and safety risks.
  • Carrying out culture reviews to understand gaps and risks for your organisation.
  • Policies to be reviewed and further enhanced against current policies to make sure expectations around appropriate behaviours are clearly defined in addition to setting out actions that might be taken for non-compliance.
  • Training and guidance for all staff around eliminating sexual harassment.

Previously the plans were to reintroduce the employer’s liability for 3rd party harassment, however these have now been deleted.

Employment Tribunals will be able to increase compensation by up to 25% for employers that breach the new duties.

Allocation of Tips to Workers

Employment (Allocation to Tips) Act 2023

This Act received Royal Assent in May 2023 and is expected to come into force in May 2024.

The Act will require employers to fairly allocate tips and service charges and pay them to workers in full.  The tips should also be paid by the end of the following month in which they were received.  It is suggested that:

  • a written policy should be put in place setting out how the tips are shared if they are paid on more than an occasional basis.
  • records should be kept on tips received from customers and their allocation.
  • a code of practice will be drawn up to offer guidance on allocation of tips.

Failure to comply with the code of practice may result in employees lodging a claim in the employment tribunal.

Statutory Payments and Wage Rates

Don’t forget there is also the annual increase in statutory payments and national minimum wage rates as follows:

  • National Living Wage (21 and over): £11.44 an increase of £1.02
  • 18-20 Year old rate: £8.60, an increase of £1.11
  • 16-17 Year old rate: £6.40 an increase of £1.12
  • Apprentice rate: £6.40 an increase of £1.12
  • Accommodation Offset: £9.99, an increase of £0.89


W realise there is a lot her, but roll-out is staggered throughout the year.  Don’t forget, if you need some help with navigating these changes and updating policies and procedures accordingly, Metro HR are happy to help.  Get in touch at hello@metrohr.co.uk or book a discovery call.

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