Employment Law Developments in 2024 - MLP Law

Employment Law Developments in 2024

  • Employment Law
  • 23rd Apr 2024

In this blog, we delve into a number of significant Employment Law changes which have been implemented in 2024 and focus on understanding the implications for businesses and HR teams and most importantly, we share practical tips on how best to deal with these changes. Changes from 6th April 2024: 1. Flexible working: The first […]

By Gareth Matthews

Changes in the Employment Law 2024

In this blog, we delve into a number of significant Employment Law changes which have been implemented in 2024 and focus on understanding the implications for businesses and HR teams and most importantly, we share practical tips on how best to deal with these changes.

Changes from 6th April 2024:

1. Flexible working:

The first change we’ll look at is the right to request flexible working.

As of 6th April 2024, there is no longer a minimum service requirement for making flexible working requests. This means that all employees can now make a flexible working request from day one of their employment. The previous minimum service requirement was 26 weeks.

This remains a right to request flexible working, rather than an entitlement to flexible working arrangements.

Other changes to the right to request flexible working, effective from 6th April 2024, are that:

  • employees can now make up to two flexible working requests per 12 months (previously this was a maximum of one request per 12 months);
  • the legal time limit for an employer to respond to a flexible working request is now two months (reduced from the previous time limit of three months);
  • employers must consult with employees before refusing a request; and
  • when making their request, employees no longer need to include an explanation of the impact they believe their request would have on the business if it was granted.

A reviewed Acas Code of Practice on requests for flexible working now applies and should be followed when dealing with flexible working requests. The Code is guidance, rather than law, but breach of it may be taken into account by the Employment Tribunal.

PRACTICAL TIPS: Employers following good practice likely already ensure that a full consultation takes place prior to declining a request and deal with requests promptly.

However, we recommend:

  • reviewing and updating your existing Flexible Working Policy (or putting one in place if you don’t already have one) to reflect these changes, and communicate the new policy to all employees;
  • if your process for considering flexible working requests involves asking your employees to complete specific forms setting out details of their request, these should also be amended to remove the requirement to explain the anticipated impact of the request on the business; and
  • training managers on the new requirements, and how to handle flexible working requests following the recent changes


2. Additional redundancy protection for pregnant employees:

Prior to 6th April 2024, women on maternity leave and employees on adoption or shared parental leave who were at risk of redundancy had priority over other employees in respect of suitable alternative vacancies.

As of 6th April 2024, this right extends to:

  • pregnant employees (from the date they inform their employer of their pregnancy); and
  • those returning from long-term family leave.

The period of protection will continue to apply for 18 months after the birth or adoption, so will almost always include a period of time after the employee has returned to work.

PRACTICAL TIPS: No immediate action required, but if/when redundancies are considered this factor will need to be addressed.


3. Changes to holiday pay and entitlement:

For any holiday years starting from 1st April 2024 onwards, employers will have the option of calculating holiday pay and entitlement for part-year and irregular hours workers in either of the two new ways:

  • calculating annual leave based on an accrual method, calculated at 12.07% of hours worked in a pay period; or
  • rolled up holiday pay (i.e. including an amount for holiday pay on top of a worker’s normal hourly rate, paid at the time they perform the work, rather than when they are on holiday).

This legislative change came in from 1st January 2024, though only applies to holidays years commencing from/after 1st April 2024. It directly addresses a Supreme Court decision from 2023 which had declared that the commonly used 12.07% method was technically unlawful under holiday legislation.


4. Carer’s Leave:

From 6th April 2024, employees have a new right to apply for up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave in any 12-month period. Points to be aware of regarding this new right are:

  • this is another ‘day one right’, meaning there is no service requirement for applying for carer’s leave;
  • the leave must be used to care for a dependent with a long-term care need;
  • the minimum period of leave that can be taken is half a working day, up to a maximum of one week. It does not need to be taken in consecutive blocks;
  • employees must give notice of their wish to take carer’s leave (either twice as long as the period of leave requested or three days’ notice, whichever is longer);
  • employers may postpone carer’s leave if they reasonably consider it will unduly disrupt their business, but must allow it to be taken within one month of the initial request;
  • employees do not need to provide evidence in relation to a request for carer’s leave and employers cannot require them to provide it; and
  • employees who take carer’s leave will be protected from detriment or dismissal as a result.

PRACTICAL TIPS: We recommend putting in place a Carer’s Leave Policy and training managers on the new requirements to ensure compliance.


5.Paternity Leave:

 From 6th April 2024, employees have greater flexibility for taking statutory paternity leave, as follows:

  • paternity leave can now be taken in two separate one-week blocks, as opposed to a single block of one or two weeks;
  • paternity leave may be taken at any time within the first year after birth or adoption, as opposed to within 56 days.
  • employees need to give two types of notice (which can be given separately or at the same time):
  • notice of their entitlement to take paternity leave – to be given to the employer 15 weeks before the expected week of birth; and
  • notice of when they intend to take their paternity leave – to be given to the employer at least 28 days before the intended start date (or seven days before being matched in adoption cases).

 PRACTICAL TIPS: We recommend:

  • reviewing and updating your existing Paternity Policy, or putting one in place if you don’t already have one) to reflect these changes; and
  • training managers on the new requirements to ensure compliance.


6. Annual National Minimum Wage Increase:

From 1st April 2024, the higher rate of national minimum wage applies to anyone who is aged 21 or over. Previously, this rate only applied to those aged 23 or over.

The new higher rate of national minimum wage is £11.44 per hour, up from £10.42. New increased rates for other groups are as follows:

  • 18 to 20: £8.60 per hour
  • Under 18 and Apprentices: £6.40 per hour

This is still less than the Real Living Wage as recommended by the Living Wage Foundation, which recommends £12 per hour for all employees aged 18 or over (or £13.15 per hour for those in London).


In this comprehensive exploration of the 2024 Employment Law changes, we’ve dissected key adjustments crucial for businesses and HR teams to navigate effectively. Our focus remains on deciphering the practical implications and offering actionable insights to seamlessly integrate these changes into your organizational framework.

As the landscape of employment law evolves, we find ourselves encouraged by the strides made towards fostering a more conducive work environment. These amendments not only empower employees but also contribute to the cultivation of happier employers. It’s our belief that such enhancements in the legal framework will inevitably lead to heightened work efficiency and an overall improvement in the quality of life within workplaces.

Should you require any guidance or assistance in aligning your policies with these legislative updates, we stand ready to support you. Feel free to reach out to us via employment@mlplaw.co.uk or by calling us on 0161 926 9969. Let’s embark on this journey of compliance and progress together.

About the expert

Gareth Matthews

Partner - Employment

Gareth is a Partner in MLP Law’s Employment team and for over 10 years has specialised in employment law, primarily advising businesses and senior individuals. Gareth has significant litigation experience, including experience as an advocate in the Employment Tribunal. Gareth also has considerable experience in advising on the employment issues in corporate mergers and acquisition, including the complexities which arise in TUPE transfers. Gareth’s sector experience is wide ranging, encompassing advice to clients in the hospitality, retail, construction, healthcare, recruitment and manufacturing industries. Gareth provides training to clients and organisations on a variety of key employment topics, such as absence management, disciplinary and grievance processes and employment law updates. Gareth also acts as a guest lecturer in employment law at Liverpool Hope University. Gareth has been described by Legal 500 as someone who is ‘very reassuring and does a great job’ and was named Legal Personality of the Year by Downtown in Business. Gareth has also been quoted as an employment law expert in the Manchester Evening News and The Times and is known for his pragmatic and commercial advice, as well as his ability to quickly understand his clients’ business objectives and tailor his advice accordingly. Prior to joining MLP Law, Gareth spent a number of years working in the employment teams at two international law firms in Manchester. Away from work Gareth is a passionate cricket and football fan and enjoys discovering new music. Gareth is also a keen traveller but has had to put his plans to become fluent in a foreign language on hold in favour of spending time with family, particularly his two young sons of whom he is incredibly proud.

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