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Navigating the recent changes in UK Employment Laws - April 2024

In England and Wales, the realm of employment law is akin to a constantly shifting puzzle, where pieces are added, removed, and rearranged with remarkable frequency. For HR managers and businesses alike, keeping abreast of these changes isn't just advisable—it's imperative. As the legislative landscape evolves, understanding and complying with employment laws not only ensures legal adherence but also fosters a healthy and productive work environment.

Here, Katie Ash, Head of Employment Law summarises some recent regulation changes which came into effect in April 2024.


What recent Employment Law regulation changes have we seen?

The following Employment Law regulation changes have come into effect in April 2024 in England and Wales:


National Minimum Wage Increases

The changes see eligibility for the national living wage (NLW) extended as the age at which entitlement to the highest rate reduces from those aged 23 and over, to 21 and over. The hourly rate has increased from £10.42 to £11.44 (9.8%), with workers aged between 18 and 20 getting an even bigger boost of 14.8% (£7.49 an hour to £8.60).

From 1 April 2024, the increases are:

  • National Living Wage for over 21s: £10.42 to £11.44
  • National Minimum Wage for 18 to 20 year olds: £7.49 to £8.60
  • National Minimum Wage for under 18s: £5.28 to £6.40
  • The Apprentice rate: £5.28 to £6.40

“Any employer who doesn’t pay the minimum wage can be fined by the UK tax authority, HMRC, and workers are encouraged to log a complaint with HMRC if they feel they are being underpaid,” explains Katie.

“To make sure that your business is compliant, a full review of all salaries should take place. The pay a person receives should be calculated on an hourly basis, and it should be cross referenced with their job title and their date of birth.

Read more on National Minimum wage increases


Paternity Leave

The Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 have now come into force, bringing with them changes which see fathers or partners of children born or adopted after 6th April 2024 being able to take their paternity leave entitlement in 2 blocks of one week within the first year of the birth or adoption of their child.

These new Paternity Leave Regulations include the following changes:

  • Employees can now take their 2-week paternity leave entitlement as two separate blocks of one week at any point in the first year of the child’s birth or adoption. This has changed from having to take 2 consecutive weeks or just 1 week in total.
  • Employees can now take paternity leave at any time in the first year of birth or adoption – a change from having to take leave within 8 weeks of the birth or adoption of their child.
  • Employees will now only need to give 28 days’ notice of their intention to take paternity leave. This has reduced from a required notice period of 15 weeks before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) or placement for adoption.

Read more about Paternity Leave


Carer's Leave

The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 came in to effect on 6th April 2024 and offer a day-one right for employees to be absent from work to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.

Employees can apply for up to one week’s unpaid leave in any rolling 12-month period, and leave can be consecutive or non-consecutive, half-days or full days. They must give notice in writing if they intend to take carer’s leave and confirm that they are entitled to take the leave and give either three days’ notice or twice as many days’ notice as the amount of leave that they intend to take, whichever is longer.

Read more about Carer’s Leave


Redundancy Protection Regulation

The new Regulations give pregnant employees and those on maternity leave or family-related leave better protection from redundancy.

Previously, employees on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave had special protection in a redundancy situation whilst they were taking such leave. From 6 April 2024, the new Regulations extend the priority status to pregnant employees and those who have recently returned from maternity leave, Shared Parental Leave (SPL) or adoption leave too.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 extends redundancy rights so that they apply:

  • from the point an employee informs their employer they are pregnant
  • until 18 months after the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC), the child’s birth date, or date of adoption, for employees returning from maternity leave, SPL or adoption leave.

Read more about Redundancy Protection


Holiday Entitlement For Irregular Hours Workers

The Government has created a new system of holiday accrual and holiday pay for part-year and irregular hour workers. This new system of accrual represents the most significant change to the law surrounding holiday pay and the Working Time Regulations 1998 in a long time.

For holiday years starting on or after 1 April 2024, holiday rights for part-year or irregular hours workers will no longer come from Regulation 13 and Regulation 13A of the Working Time Regulations 1998. Instead, their rights will be set out in new Regulation 15B of the Working Time Regulations 1998.

The Government’s changes aim to simplify holiday and holiday pay calculations by:

  • defining irregular hours workers and part-year workers.
  • introducing a method to calculate statutory holiday entitlement for irregular hours and part-year workers.
  • introducing rolled-up holiday pay as an alternative method to calculate holiday pay with the reintroduction of the 12.07% calculation method for determining holiday pay for individuals with irregular work hours and seasonal or part-year employment.
  • introducing a method to work out how much leave one of these workers has accrued when they take maternity or family related leave or are off sick.
  • removing the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which affect the accrual of COVID-19 carryover of leave.

 To accompany the legislative changes, the Government also issued Holiday Pay guidance.

Read more about Holiday Entitlement for irregular hours workers


Flexible Working Regulations

The new Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023, which came into effect on the 6th April 2024, state that a flexible working request can be made on day one of employment. This means that employees will no longer need to have 26 weeks’ continuous employment in order to make a flexible working request. 

Read more about changes to Flexible Working Regulations


In conclusion, the ever-changing nature of UK employment laws underscores the critical importance of awareness and vigilance on the part of HR managers and businesses. By staying informed, adhering to legal requirements, and prioritizing employee rights, organizations can navigate the complexities of the legal landscape with confidence and integrity. Ultimately, a commitment to compliance not only mitigates risks and ensures legal protection but also fosters a culture of trust, fairness, and inclusivity within the workplace—a cornerstone of sustainable business success.


Why is awareness of everchanging Employment Laws essential for businesses?

Let's delve into why this awareness is essential and how it impacts the realm of human resources and business operations.


  1. Legal Compliance:

First and foremost, staying updated on employment laws is crucial for legal compliance. The UK boasts a robust framework of legislation governing various aspects of employment, including but not limited to, discrimination, health and safety, working hours, and employee rights. Failing to comply with these laws can result in costly penalties, litigation, and reputational damage for businesses.


  1. Protection of Employee Rights:

Employment laws exist to safeguard the rights and well-being of workers. HR managers play a pivotal role in ensuring that these rights are respected within the workplace. This includes everything from fair recruitment and selection processes to providing a safe working environment and ensuring equal opportunities for all employees. By staying informed about legal developments, HR professionals can uphold these rights effectively and advocate for employees when necessary.


  1. Mitigation of Risks:

Ignorance of employment laws exposes businesses to various risks, ranging from employment tribunal claims to negative publicity. Changes in legislation can introduce new liabilities or alter existing obligations for employers. For instance, updates to parental leave entitlements or amendments to minimum wage rates necessitate adjustments in HR policies and practices. By proactively monitoring legal developments, businesses can identify potential risks early on and take appropriate measures to mitigate them.


  1. Competitive Advantage:

In today's dynamic business landscape, attracting and retaining top talent is paramount for organizational success. Compliance with employment laws not only fosters a positive employer brand but also enhances the company's competitive edge. Demonstrating a commitment to ethical and lawful employment practices can attract high-calibre candidates who prioritize workplace integrity and fairness. Moreover, it cultivates a positive work culture where employees feel valued and respected, thereby boosting morale and productivity.


  1. Adaptation to Change:

The only constant in employment law is change. Legislative amendments, court rulings, and societal shifts continually reshape the legal landscape. HR managers must possess the agility to adapt to these changes swiftly and effectively. This entails not only updating policies and procedures but also educating stakeholders and fostering a culture of compliance within the organization. By embracing change proactively, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and position themselves as industry leaders in employee relations and legal compliance.


If you have any questions surrounding these regulation changes or need help with drafting or re-negotiating employment contracts, please contact the Banner Jones Employment Law team at


You may also be interested in Employer Protect - for an affordable fixed annual fee Banners Jones' employment law solicitors and HR specialists can help you with all your employment law issues.

Katie Ash
  • Director
  • Solicitor
  • Head of Employment Law

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