Article from NR Magazine By Emma Williams, employment associate, and Nicole Akinyemi, trainee solicitor, at Katten Muchin Rosenman UK
Here is a summary of the changes that can be expected in 2024:
Streamlining TUPE consultations
For TUPE transfers taking place on or after 1 July 2024, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and businesses of any size that are proposing to transfer fewer than 10 employees will be able to consult directly with transferring employees if there are no existing employee representatives.
This will simplify the consultation process, saving companies time and money in the process.
From 6 April 2024, employers will be required to offer suitable alternative employment, if available, to an extended category of employees as part of any redundancy process.
Employers will need to offer this to those employees who are pregnant, have recently suffered a miscarriage and those on family leave, for up to 18 months from the expected week of the child’s birth, the day of the childbirth or the date of placement.
Family leave covers maternity, adoption and shared parental leave. Relevant company policies should be updated to reflect these upcoming changes.
Roll up, roll up… your holiday pay
From 1 April 2024, companies will be able to pay atypical workers an additional sum in respect of holiday pay at each payment date, regardless of whether workers take their holiday in that period.
If your company’s holiday year renews in April, then you could change the way they pay zero-hours workers immediately after this change comes into force.
Carrying over annual leave
From 1 January 2024, workers can carry forward annual leave if they have not been able to take it because they’ve been on family leave or sick leave during the year.
Any annual leave outstanding following a period of sick leave must be taken within 18 months.
Going forward, you should keep records of all workers’ leave, provide reasonable opportunities to take the leave and communicate that untaken leave will be forfeited.
This is crucial to avoid workers further carrying over their leave due to the company’s non-compliance with its obligations.
Enhanced obligations to protect employees from sexual harassment
From October 2024, companies must take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees during their employment.
Practically, employees should be required to attend regular, tailored anti-harassment training and companies should implement clear policies and procedures on reporting and handling incidents.
Flexible working changes
From July 2024, employees can request flexible working from day one of their employment. Employers must consider requests and provide reasons if requests are rejected.
Employees will have the right to make two requests annually and a decision must be made within two months.
Additionally, employees will no longer be required to explain the impact the change will have on the employer. Ahead of this change you should ensure that your company’s flexible working policy is up to date.
Working pattern protections
From September 2024, workers who have unpredictable working hours will have the right to request predictable working hours, days and times from their employers.
A response must be provided within a month and dealt with reasonably.
If your company engages with workers covered by these new protections, you should start considering how this will affect current contracts, working schedules and other related matters.
From 6 April 2024, employees will be able to apply for up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave for a dependent with a long-term care need.
Employers cannot request evidence or decline the leave; however, leave may be postponed. Policies should be updated or created to reflect this new right and a system of record-keeping should be introduced to track entitlement.
Paternity leave rights
From March 2024, regulations are scheduled to come in which are intended to make changes to the way in which the statutory entitlement to paternity leave is exercised, including requirements relating to notice and evidence, the period within which paternity leave must be taken (allowing fathers and partners to take their leave as two one-week, non-consecutive blocks), and the requirement that paternity leave be taken in one continuous period.
Although no specific timeline has been provided, the government has expressed its intention to cap post-employment non-compete clauses to a maximum of three months. Stay tuned for updates for any bills on this subject-matter.
Article By Emma Williams, employment associate, and Nicole Akinyemi, trainee solicitor, at Katten Muchin Rosenman UK