New UK HR law changes in April 2024

New UK HR Law Changes in April 2024 - Modern HR

It’s been a busy year for the Conservative Government with some new legal changes coming through which affects UK Businesses.

So, what does this mean for me as a small business owner I hear you ask.

Well, here’s the low down in terms of what’s changing in April 2024 and what you need to do as a result of this.

1. Statutory Carer’s Leave

It’s been confirmed that from the 6th April 2024, there will be a new law that gives your employees the right to take statutory carer’s leave. This will be a right that eligible employees have from their first day on the job.

Employees will qualify for statutory carer’s leave if they care for a dependent with a long-term care need. And if any of your employees are eligible, they’ll be able to take a maximum of one week of unpaid leave a year to look after someone who relies on them for care.

They’ll be able to take this leave flexibly but will have to give a minimum amount of notice. This will either be double the amount of time they've requested to take or three days - whichever option is longer.

You also won’t be able to refuse a carer’s leave request but will be able to postpone if the leave would seriously disrupt your business operations.

2. New rules around flexible working requests

From 6th April, the government will grant employees the right to make a flexible working request from day 1. This has changed because previously, they had to have worked for you for 26 weeks before they could do this.

Under the new rules, businesses will be required to consult with employees and explore alternative options before rejecting a request. Applications will need to be determined within two months rather than the current period of three months (including any appeal process). The reasons for refusing a flexible working request will stay the same.

Employees will also have the right to make two flexible working requests in a 12-month period, as opposed to one.

3. Extended protection from redundancy for pregnant staff

Currently, employees on maternity leave have more rights and protection against redundancy than other staff. And from 6th April 2024, pregnant employees will have those rights too.

This applies from the moment the employee tells you (their boss) about their pregnancy, up until 18 months after the birth of their child.

This means that if you were ever having to consider redundancies, you would need to take steps to also help keep your pregnant staff in work before anyone else. So, you will need to consider your pregnant employees for suitable alternative roles before other employees. Failing to follow this could lead to possible sex discrimination claims, unfair dismissal claims and uncapped compensation.

The same protection will also apply to those who take maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

4. Calculating holiday pay and leave for casual and part-time workers

Currently, you should be giving holiday pay at the time that your staff take annual leave. And not including holiday pay in your worker’s hourly rate (also known as giving “rolled-up holiday pay”). This was following a change that stopped rolled up holiday pay.

But now the government has confirmed that businesses will be able to provide rolled up holiday pay again 🎉– but only for staff who work irregular hours, like zero-hour workers and part-year workers.

So, the good news is that you’ll be able to calculate annual leave for irregular hour workers using the 12.07% accrual method.

If you have full-time employees, you can probably ignore this.

5. National minimum wage rises

National minimum wage rises every year but in April 2024, we’re set to see more than just the standard change.

Currently, workers aged 23 and over receive the highest rate of pay for national minimum wage.

There’s a lower rate for workers who are 21 and 22. However, this band is going to disappear - pushing 21 and 22 year olds into the highest band bracket.

So here are the new rates you’ll need to make note of…

  • For those over compulsory school age but not yet 18 - £6.40 per hour (up from £5.28).
  • For apprentices aged 19 and under (or 19 and over and in their first year of their apprenticeship) - £6.40 per hour (up from £5.28).
  • For those aged 18 to 20 - £8.60 per hour (up from £7.49).
  • National living wage (anyone aged 21 and over) - £11.44 per hour (from £10.42).

You’ll need to make sure you pay your staff the correct wage if they earn on or around the national minimum wage. Otherwise, underpaying (even by accident) could get you into hot bother with the government.

6. Changes to statutory maternity pay, sick pay and redundancy pay rates.

These tend to go up every year - and 2024 is no exception.

Grab my handy guide here to get all the rates for 2024.

Employment Law Guide - Modern HR

Other changes expected in 2024 also include…

  • A ban on withholding tips from workers – coming in July 2024
  • A new right to request a more predictable working pattern - expected in September 2024
  • A pro-active duty to prevent sexual harassment at work – expected in October 2024
  • Statutory neonatal care leave – expected in October 2024
  • New minimum staffing levels for key emergency sectors during strikes - Date TBC
  • Changes to statutory maternity pay and sick pay rates - Date TBC
  • Changes to the age criteria for being auto-enrolled in a pension scheme - Date TBC

What are your next steps?

With so many updates flying in, you’ll need to make sure you:

✅ Update your employee handbook to reflect these changes

You’ll need to make sure your HR policies reflect the new updates and how your business will manage them.

If you have purchased my handbook, you’ll receive these updates for free.

✅ Review your procedures

You’ll need to review your procedures around leave, flexible working, harassment, redundancy, tips – any that are affected by the updates. Then, amend them in line with the new legal requirements. Because you’ll need to be ready to deal with employee requests and any incidents quickly and in line with the latest rules.

✅ Offer training to your Managers

It’s a good idea to organise staff training for leaders and people managers, so they understand how to manage new leave requests and conduct issues promptly and in line with the law.


  • Book a free consultation with Mandy here, to learn more about us working together.

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