Preparing for the upcoming shifts in UK Employment Law

As the calendar turns and new regulations come into effect, businesses across the United Kingdom are bracing themselves for a wave of changes in employment law that seek to reshape the dynamics of the workplace. From adjustments to minimum wage rates to reforms in parental leave policies, the upcoming amendments are set to impact employers and employees alike.

Let’s delve into the key insights and implications the upcoming employment law changes in the United Kingdom will have and how business can prepare.

Focus on Flexible Working

In response to the paradigm shift towards remote and flexible work arrangements accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government is set to introduce measures to facilitate greater flexibility in the workplace. Employees will have the right to request flexible working from day one of their employment, marking a departure from the previous requirement of 26 weeks’ service.

Key points for employers to note:

  • Employers will have 2 months to respond to such requests; and
  • Employers are required to undertake a consultation prior to the refusal of a request.

This shift suggests a recognition of the changing nature of work and the need for employers to accommodate the diverse lifestyles and preferences of their employees, though making it more challenging for those employers who wish to encourage their workforce back into the office.

Parental Leave Rights

In a bid to support working parents and promote a better work-life balance, the UK government is expanding parental leave rights. This includes the introduction of new entitlements such as extended paternity leave and enhanced parental pay provisions. Employers will need to update their policies and procedures to accommodate these changes and provide support to employees navigating the complexities of balancing work and family responsibilities.

The key legislative changes are as follows:

  • Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023:
  • From 6th April 2024 pregnant employees will receive additional safeguards in the form of an 18-month ‘protection period’ against redundancy and the employer must offer them first priority for alternative roles.


  • Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024:
  • Aim is to allow employees to split their two-weeks paternity leave into two one-week periods, which can be implemented at any point during the first year from the birth or adoption of their child. The proposed changes will relate to babies born after 6 April 2024.

From the 7 April 2024 the rate of child related statutory payments will rise from £172.48 to £184.03.

Carers Leave Rights

With the view to better support carers, from 6 April 2024 the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 will grant employees that are eligible the right to take one week of unpaid leave annually. This will be a day one right given to employees who care for dependants with long term needs.

Living Wage and Minimum Wage Adjustments

One of the most anticipated changes is the adjustment to the national minimum wage. Living wage rates are set to increase and will be rising from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour. Employers should be mindful that all those aged 21 and over (down from 23 and over) will now be eligible to receive this rate of pay. Those aged 18 to 20 will see an increase in their National Minimum Wage rate from £7.49 to £8.60, and all apprentices and workers under 18 will see a rise from £5.28 to £6.40 an hour.  These increases go beyond current rates of inflation and will no doubt be giving employers headaches in relation to increased costs and maintaining pay differentiation between roles.

Employers must be prepared to adjust their payroll systems accordingly and ensure compliance with the revised rates to avoid potential penalties for non-compliance.

Holiday Pay

Under the Employment Rights (Regulations) 2023 a new method of calculating accrued holiday entitlement will be introduced for individuals who work irregular hours or part-time, throughout the year.

From 1st April employers will have to calculate accrued holiday as 12.07% of actual hours worked in a pay period. This will help to simplify the position as well as step back from the developments in case law that have granted windfall holiday entitlements to part-year and irregular hours workers.

Statutory Sick Pay

The government have increased the level of Statutory sick pay from £109.40 to £116.75. This change will take effect from 8 April 2024.

Employers should be mindful of the impact of these imminent changes and ensure that they update relevant policies and procedures and act in a compliant manner to avoid the risks of claims.