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Welcome to our blog, where we post updates on all of the latest changes in the HR world.

  • Laura Hill

🗓️March 2024 Employment Law Update

This Employment Law Update will cover the upcoming legislation and statutory payment changes, a reminder on changes to Covid emergency rules and key announcements made regarding  employment in the government’s Spring Budget 2024. 

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this email, please get in touch. 

Statutory Payment Changes 

As a reminder, we will see increases to national minimum and living wage from 1st April, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from 6th April and family-friendly statutory payments from 7th April. 

From 1st April, workers aged 21 and over will be entitled to the National Living Wage:

Current Rate 

National Living Wage - £10.42

21-22 Year Old Rate - £10.18

18-20 Year Old Rate - £7.49

Under 18 Rate - £5.28

Apprentice Rate - £5.28

Rate from 1st April 2024

National Living Wage - £11.44

18-20 Year Old Rate - £8.60

Under 18 Rate - £6.40

Apprentice Rate - £6.40

From 6th April, SSP will increase from £109.40 to £116.75 per week.

From 6th April, the limit on a week's pay used for calculating statutory redundancy pay (and the unfair dismissal basic award) will also increase from £643 to £700.

From 7th April, SMP and other payments which include paternity (SPP), adoption (SAP), parental bereavement (SPBP), and shared parental (ShPP), will also be increasing. This will rise from £172.48 to £184.03 per week.

The earnings threshold to be entitled to SSP, SMP and other payments will remain at £123 per week.

If you currently have employees off sick or on maternity leave etc. you must remember to factor in the increases for impacted employees if their absence continues past the change date, and for those who take leave following the change.

New Regulations

Paternity Leave Amendment Regulations 2024

These regulations came into force on 8th March and will apply in all cases where the expected week of childbirth falls on or after 6th April, giving employees the option to split paternity leave into two blocks of one week if they don’t want to take it all at once.

Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024

From 6th April, the period of special protection from redundancy will be extended for employees who are on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave to 18 months after birth or adoption, and to during pregnancy.

Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023

From 6th April, an employee has the right to make a flexible working request from the first day of their employment.

Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024

From 6th April, eligible employees will have a ‘day-one’ right to apply for up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave per year in order to provide care or assistance to someone dependent upon them who has a long-term care need.

National Insurance Contributions (Reduction in Rates) (No. 2) Bill

From 6th April, the main rate of primary (employee) Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) cuts from 10% to 8% and the main rate of self-employed Class 4 NICs cuts from 8% to 6%. These cuts were announced by Jeremy Hunt in the Spring Budget earlier this month, and come on top of the initial 2p reductions announced in the Autumn statement.

Changes to Covid Emergency Rules

In 2020, the government implemented emergency rules on annual leave which allowed employees to carry over 4 weeks of leave into the next two leave years where it was not reasonably possible for them to take that leave due to Covid. From 1st January 2024, employees have no longer been able to accrue Covid carry over leave and any employees that still have outstanding Covid carry over leave must use it on or before 31st March 2024.

Spring Budget 2024

In addition to the further national insurance cuts – inflation, pension fund reforms and more support for working parents was also discussed.

  • Inflation - Hunt announced that inflation is expected to fall below the government’s 2% target in a few months’ time, much earlier than initially forecasted.

  • Pension fund reform - Pension funds will be required to publicly compare their performance data against competitor schemes and those that are performing poorly will not be able to take on new business from employers.

  • Child benefit - From April, the threshold at which parents start paying the high-income child benefit charge will increase from £50,000 to £60,000, meaning 170,000 families will no longer have to pay the charge. The government also announced changes to how child benefits are paid, making it a household-based system to address the unfairness for single-parent households.

  • Childcare - Hunt also announced plans to extend the 30 hours of free childcare to babies over the age of 9 months. The aim is to support working parents and families balance work with looking after children.

Since the Spring Budget, Rishi Sunak has also announced:

  • A £60 million investment in apprenticeships over the next year, fully funding the cost of apprenticeships in small businesses from 1st April, by paying the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21.

  • Slashing unnecessary regulatory burdens, saving around £150 million per year for many small businesses

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

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