This month’s employment law update covers recent changes made including the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act, Carer’s Leave Act 2023, and changes to holiday calculations.
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023
In July 2023, this Act gained Royal Assent, providing employees with increased flexibility when making flexible working requests.
Every employee has a statutory right to request flexible working and this right will apply from the first day of employment with effect from 6th April 2024. Employees can make two flexible working requests within a twelve-month period compared to previously when only one request could be made. Employers must respond to requests within two months which is a change from three months previously. Employers and employees making flexible working requests will now be required to mandatory consultation.
ACAS has revised its Code of Practice following a recent consultation. The ACAS Draft Code of Practice is available here: https://www.acas.org.uk/acas-code-of-practice-on-flexible-working-requests/2024. The Code of Practice covers how to make a flexible working request, what needs to be included, what process should be followed and the eight business reasons for rejecting a request.
The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023
This Act received Royal Assent in May 2023. The Act aims to extend the previously agreed period of priority status against redundancy for pregnant workers to six months following their return to work. The Act will also provide protection to those who have experienced a recent miscarriage (before notifying their employer of their pregnancy) and those who have recently returned from adoption leave or shared parental leave. The protection only gives employees priority for redeployment opportunities and doesn’t stop the possibility of making employees redundant during the protected period. Employees with priority status can still be selected for redundancy. These rights will come into effect from 6th April 2024.
Carer’s Leave Act 2023
The Carer’s Leave Act will come into force on 6th April 2024 allowing employees to take up to one week’s leave annually, in whole or half days, to provide or arrange care for a dependant. The right extends to care for a spouse, partner, child or parent who lives in the same household as the carer and / or reasonably relies on them for care. This leave is a first day employment right and is unpaid.
The new regulations take effect from 1st January 2024 but relate to leave years starting on or after 1st April 2024. The new regulations state that “the amount of annual leave to which a part-year worker is entitled at any time during a leave year is the amount of leave they have accrued in that year”. The Government have introduced rolled-up holiday pay for irregular hours and part-year workers and an accrual method to calculate entitlement at 12.07% of hours worked in a pay period for irregular hours and part-year workers. More information can be found on the Government website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simplifying-holiday-entitlement-and-holiday-pay-calculations/holiday-pay-and-entitlement-reforms-from-1-january-2024
We will keep you in the loop about everything we have discussed in this month’s employment law update. If you would like any support on any of the topics mentioned above, please contact any member of the team and we will be happy to help.