Employment legislation

Jump to: Good Work Plan | Agency & irregular hours | Statutory increases | Bereavement | Immigration | Confidentiality & NDAs

 New Employment Legislation that came into effect on 6 April 2024

There are four key pieces of legislation that our parishes as employers need to be aware of:

Employment Rights (Flexible Working) Act 2023
  • Employees will be entitled to request flexible working arrangements from the first day of their employment rather than after 26 weeks as is currently. This includes requests for part-time, term-term, flextime, compressed hours, and varied working locations.
  • Employees will no longer be required to set out the effect their requested arrangement will have on the organisation, nor suggest ways their employer can manage it. 
  • Employers will have to consult with the employee on alternatives before refusing their request for flexible working arrangements and explain the reasons behind their decision. Previously, employers could deny any request for flexible working without explanation.
  • Employers are now obliged to deal with a request, including an appeal within two months, compared to three months previously.
  • Employees can make two statutory requests for flexible working in any twelve-month period, as opposed to one request previously.

Further information about flexible working can be found on the gov.uk website.

Carer's Leave Act 2023

The Carer's Leave Regulations 2024, introduce a new statutory right to unpaid carer's leave for employees with caring responsibilities in England, Wales and Scotland. 

This leave is a day-one right, available to all employees without any qualifying period. It applies to anyone caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or other dependant who needs care because of a disability, old age or any illness or injury likely to require at least three months' care. This leave is unpaid. The maximum duration of leave is one week per year. While employers can;t deny an employee's request for carer's leave, they can postpone if you reasonably consider that the operation of the organisation would be unduly disrupted if it were approved.

Further information about unpaid carer's leave can be found on the gov.uk website.

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

Under the current law, employees on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave already have special protection in a redundancy situation. From 6 April 2024, the Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 extend redundancy protection to apply during pregnancy and for a period of 18 months after birth or placement of a child for those taking maternity, adoption or shared parental leave. 

Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024

This amended regulation makes significant changes to paternity leave, allowing it to be taken in the first 52 weeks after birth or adoption, and either as two separate weeks, one single week or two consecutive weeks together. This will apply to children whose expected week of childbirth is after 6 April 2024, and children whose expected date of placement for adoption, or expected date of entry into Great Britain for adoption, is on or after that date. 

The Good Work Plan

The Government has dubbed the Good Work Plan “the biggest overhaul in employment law in 20 years”, although it may not feel like that at the moment. However, don’t let these new changes catch you out…

Workers get the right to a written statement

From 6th April 2020, all employees and workers should receive a written statement on or before their first day of employment. Workers don’t always have a written contract with their employer and they don’t have to accept the work their employer offers, they have fewer rights than employees.

Employees on the other hand always have a written contract of employment and have to accept the work their employer gives them. As an employee, they get flexible working rights, protection from dismissal, and the right to raise grievances.

Right to request stable contracts

After 26 weeks of employment, workers and employees can request a clearer, more certain contract. For example, they can ask you for a guaranteed number of working hours or fixed working days. You’ll have to approve or reject their request within three months. If you reject it, you’ll need to have a genuine business reason to back up your decision.

Break-in continuous service will increase

From 6th April 2020, the continuous service gap increased to four weeks. 

Agency workers to get Key Facts page

New agency workers must be provided with a  'Key Facts Page' to tell them more about a job before they accept a role. The Key Facts Page can’t be longer than two A4 pages and must explain:

  • The type of contract;
  • The minimum rate of pay;
  • The person who pays the wage;
  • That workers get the same pay as permanent staff after 12 weeks’ service.

More protection for agency workers

From April 2020, the Agency Workers Regulations were amended so that agency workers with 12 weeks’ continuous service are paid the same amount as permanent staff.

Holiday Pay for those with irregular hours

The Working Time Regulations 1998 have also been amended to increase the reference period for determining an average week’s pay (to calculate holiday pay). Where a worker has been employed by their employer for at least 52 complete weeks, the reference period is increased from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.

Where a worker has been employed by their employer for less than 52 weeks, the reference period is the number of weeks for which the worker has been employed. This development makes it fairer and much easier to calculate holiday pay and protects workers who work irregular hours.

Further changes to holiday rules came into effect from 01 April 2024.  For holiday years beginning on or after this date, holiday entitlement for part-year and irregular-hours workers can be calculated by taking 12.07% of the hours worked in the pay period.  

Rolled-up holiday will also be permissible from this date for part-year and irregular-hours workers only.  

Further information on holiday pay and entitlements can be found on the gov.uk website.

Increase to statutory rates

The period that an employer must retain records sufficient to prove it is paying a worker the correct rate is six years (this became effective from 1 April 2021). 

From 1 April 2024, the National Living Wage age band has been expanded to include workers aged 21 and over. The National Living Wage ( NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW), rates will rise as follows: 

National Living Wage
  • NLW will increase from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour (for people aged 21 or older);
  • NMW for workers aged 18-20 will increase from £7.49 to £8.60 per hour;
  • The young workers rate for workers aged 16-17 will increase from £5.28 to £6.40 per hour;
  • The apprentice rate for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of the apprenticeship, will increase from £5.28 to £6.40 per hour. 
Real Living Wage

The real Living Wage is higher than the government's minimum, or National Living Wage, and is an independently calculated hourly rate of pay that is based on the actual cost of living.  From 24 October 2023, the current rates are:

  • £12.00 in the UK 
  • £13.15 in London 
Statutory sick pay - from 6 April 2024
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) increased from £109.40  to £116.75 per week;
  • The Lower earnings limit remains at £123 or more per week
Statutory family-friendly payments - from 7 April 2024
  • Statutory leave and pay including maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement pay increases from £172.48 to £184.03 per week.
Key tribunal compensation limits

The Government has announced several changes to employment tribunal compensation and limits. The most important of these are detailed below:

Payments  From 6 April 2023 From 6 April 2024
Limit on a week's pay for calculating redundancy and unfair dismissal basic award. £643 £700
Maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payment (30 weeks' pay) subject to the limit on a week's pay). £19,290 £21,000
Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal - subject to a maximum cap of a year's pay. £105,707 £115,115

* There are a limited number of exceptions where the cap does not apply. These are dismissals for whistleblowing or for raising certain health and safety issues. In addition, there is no limit to the award that can be made where dismissal is related to unlawful discrimination. 

Guidelines for injury to feelings awards

An award for injury to feelings is made to compensate for injury to feelings caused by discrimination. The award is separate from an award to compensate for financial loss and can be made even where no financial loss has been suffered.  To assist Employment Tribunals, the Court of Appeal previously set out guidance for quantifying awards for injury to feelings, known as the Vento bands. 

From 6 April 2023, the Vento bands increased as follows:

  • Lower band (less serious): £1,100 - £11,200
  • Middle band: £11,200 - £33,700
  • Upper band (more serious cases): £33,700 - £56,200
Gender pay gap reporting

All employers with 250 or more employees are required by law to comply with gender pay gap reporting under the specific duties of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. Employers must report their gender pay gap data on the snapshot date each year which is 31 March for most public authority employers and 5 April for private, voluntary and all other public authority employers. Further guidance on gender pay gap reporting can be found on the gov.uk website. 

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average (mean or median) earnings of men and women across the workforce. 


Changes to IR35 in the private sector - came into force on 6 April 2021.  The rules shift responsibility for determining the status of a contractor for tax purposes onto the client.

Post-employment notice pay

Changes to the calculation of Post-Employment Notice Pay (PENP) took effect on 6 April 2021 which resulted in a more consistent calculation. 

PENP is the amount of a 'relevant termination award' paid to a departing employee that represents a payment in lieu of all or part of their notice entitlement. It is calculated using the statutory formula, based on the employee's basic pay and the number of days (or months) in the individual's period of unserved notice (the post-employment notice period). 

This amount is subject to deductions for income tax and National Insurance contributions, therefore PENP can no longer be paid free of tax. 

New immigration system

The government has published its plans for the new points-based immigration system which will apply from 1st January 2021 to both EU and non-EU migrant workers.

Under the new system, all would-be Tier Two (General) migrants must speak English and will need an offer from an approved sponsor, for a role at the required skill level (i.e. a role requiring qualifications equivalent to A levels) and at the required salary.

The minimum salary threshold will be set at £25,600 (with no regional variation across the UK). However, in certain circumstances, the minimum salary threshold will be reduced to £20,480. There will be no need to advertise a role and no cap on Tier Two work visas.

Confidentiality and NDAs

Acas has published new guidance on non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). These commonly form part of settlement agreements with departing employees. This is the latest in a series of developments and, although the guidance does not have the same force as a statutory code of practice, it may be used as evidence in legal proceedings.

The Acas guidance discourages the routine use of NDAs. It also states that a worker should be given a reasonable time to consider the agreement carefully and makes it clear that NDAs should not be used to stop someone from:

  • Reporting discrimination or sexual harassment at work or to the police.
  • Disclosing a future act of discrimination or harassment.
  • Whistleblowing

Details of the government’s proposed legislation on confidentiality clauses are awaited.

Page last updated: Tuesday 9th April 2024 11:53 AM
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