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As we usher in the new year, the UK employment law landscape is poised for significant transformations in 2024. A confluence of factors, including the aftermath of Brexit and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, has set the stage for a year that promises notable developments. Inspire Legal Group, a leading solicitor in North Yorkshire, can assist you with employment law. Here’s a comprehensive overview of key changes that are set to shape employment practices in the coming months:

1. Retained EU Law and Its Implications:

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill brings both continuity and uncertainty. While the Act revokes the principle of EU supremacy in UK law from January 1, 2024, the status of EU case law and the interpretation of EU-derived law by UK courts remain uncertain. Employers should brace for potential legal challenges and ambiguities in their obligations.

2. Holiday Reforms Unveiled:

November 2023 saw the announcement of crucial reforms to employment law, impacting annual leave under the Working Time Regulations. Starting April 1, 2024, employers will witness the return of rolled-up holiday pay for irregular hours workers and part-year workers. Additionally, changes in calculating holiday entitlement for these workers and provisions for the carry-over of annual leave are set to reshape holiday practices.

3. TUPE Consultation Adjustments:

For TUPE transfers taking place on or after July 1, 2024, a notable change allows direct consultation with employees in the absence of existing worker representatives. Small businesses and those undertaking small transfers will benefit from this adjustment.

4. Strengthening Worker Protections:

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023, effective in October 2024, places a duty on employers to take “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment of employees during employment. While not as expansive as the initial proposal, this duty underscores the importance of robust policies and a zero-tolerance culture.

5. Flexible Working Act 2023:

Effective April 6, 2024, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act introduces changes in flexible working requests. Employees gain the right to make two requests in any 12-month period, with employers having two months to respond. The responsibility to consider the impact of requests now falls on the employer.

6. Family-Friendly Protection Extended:

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 extends protection to pregnant employees and those on family leave, ensuring preferential treatment regarding suitable alternative vacancies in redundancy situations.

7. Predictable Terms and Conditions:

Anticipated around September 2024, the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act grants workers the right to request predictability in working patterns, especially relevant in industries with fluctuating or casual work patterns.

8. Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024:

Effective April 6, 2024, employees gain the right to one week of unpaid carer’s leave in any rolling 12-month period, protecting them from detriment or dismissal for taking or seeking carer’s leave.

9. Non-Compete Clause Reforms:

The government’s intention to limit the length of non-compete clauses to three months is pending legislation. Employers should monitor updates, and employees may leverage this announcement during negotiations.

10. Government Reviews and Future Reforms:

Ongoing reviews of whistleblowing frameworks and fire and rehire practices may lead to substantial changes in 2024. The Supreme Court’s decision in the case of SoS for Business and Trade v Mercer regarding trade union detriment is expected to shape workers’ rights to strike.

As the employment law landscape undergoes these shifts, employers are urged to stay informed, proactively update policies, and seek legal counsel to navigate the evolving regulatory framework effectively. 

Natalie Foster – Owner

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