Will 2024 prove another busy year for employment law changes and what are the key reforms and updates to note? Following our 'employment essentials' round-up of 2023's top legislative picks and case law developments, we take a look at what changes are on the horizon for the year ahead.
Here, our Employment, Labour & Equalities team share a quarter-by-quarter rundown of the key employment law developments expected in 2024 to help you plan ahead.
Employment law timeline for 2024
1 January 2024
Holiday leave & pay: Codification of carry over rights with repeal of COVID-19 carry over provisions, codification of meaning of "normal pay" and clarification of record keeping requirements.
Brexit: The supremacy and general principles of EU law are abolished and retained EU law is renamed 'assimilated law'.
Discrimination: Equality Act 2010 is amended to reproduce in domestic law certain discrimination protections derived from EU law that would otherwise have fallen away:
- 'Single source' test for establishing an equal pay comparison.
- Indirect associative discrimination.
- Definition of disability (participation in working life).
- Pregnancy, maternity and breastfeeding (special treatment and unfavourable treatment protections).
- Discriminatory recruitment conditions protections.
- Pensions equality.
16 January 2024
Agency workers: Department for Business and Trade (DBT) Consultation on proposed repeal of the ban on hiring agency staff to cover during industrial action closes.
17 January 2024
Predictable working patterns: The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Consultation on a draft statutory Code of Practice on handling requests for a predictable working pattern closes.
22 January 2024
Right to work checks: Three-fold increase to the Home Office illegal working fines and new Code of Practice on preventing illegal working comes into force.
30 January 2024
Strike Minimum Service Levels (MSLs): Department for Education (DfE) Consultation on minimum service levels in education services during strike action closes.
Strike MSLs: Regulations introducing minimum service levels in hospital services during strike action expected to be introduced following the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) consultation, which closed on 14 November 2023.
13 February 2024
Right to work checks: three-fold increase to illegal working (civil) penalties for employers in force.
19 February 2024
Fire & Rehire: Response to the Consultation on the draft Statutory Code of Practice on "fire and rehire" practices, and the final version of the Code published. Failure to follow the Code could result in a 25% uplift to compensation awards in relevant cases.
22 February 2024
Allocation of Tips: The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) Consultation on a draft statutory Code of Practice supporting measures in the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 closes.
8 March 2024
Paternity leave: Minor amendments to paternity leave to come into force for children whose expected week of childbirth/placement for adoption is on or after 6 April 2024. Changes include right to take the two weeks leave in two separate blocks, extending the period within which the leave can be taken and changes to notification periods.
30 March 2024
Gender pay gap reporting: Public sector reports due to be published.
31 March 2024
Holiday leave & pay: Any leave accrued under the COVID-19 holiday carry-over rules can no longer be used.
1 April 2024
Holiday leave & pay: New rules on holiday accrual and provision of rolled-up holiday pay for irregular hours and part-year workers apply to annual leave years starting on or after 1 April.
National Minimum Wage (NMW): Annual increases in force. National Living Wage (NLW) age band expands from those aged 23+ to those aged 21+ and the NLW hourly rate increases from £10.42 to £11.44.
4 April 2024
Gender pay gap reporting: Private and voluntary sector reports due to be published.
6 April 2024
Carer's leave: A new statutory entitlement to one week of unpaid carer's leave per year for employees who are caring for a dependent with a long-term care need.
Flexible working requests: Revised provisions relating to the flexible working request process are expected to come into force, together with the right to request flexible working becoming a day one right. Corresponding revised ACAS statutory code of practice also in force.
Redundancy protection: Extension of the existing redundancy protections (priority for suitable alternative employment) while on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave to additionally cover the period up to 18 months after the expected week of childbirth/adoption placement, and also to cover the pregnancy period.
Statutory pay rates: Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement leave pay rates increase from £172.48 to £184.03, and statutory sick pay from £109.40 to £116.75
IR35: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is expected to introduce a set-off mechanism to address the over-collection of tax from end users in cases of non-compliance with the IR35 off-payroll working rules.
9 May 2024
Union membership: New public sector union check-off rules come into force.
1 July 2024
Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE): Expansion of the exemption to certain consultation requirements for smaller undertakings in force for transfers taking place on or after this date.
Allocation of Tips: The provisions of the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 on fair distribution of tips to workers are expected to come into force.
Corporate reporting: DBT expected to consult on updating non-financial reporting requirements, including gender pay gap and modern slavery reporting.
25 October 2024
Harassment: Employers subject to a new duty to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees, with a 25% compensation uplift where there has been a breach of the employers' duty.
Predictable working patterns: New right for workers to request a more predictable work pattern expected to come into force during autumn 2024.
Fire & Rehire: Statutory Code of Practice on "fire and rehire" practices, expected to come into force. Failure to follow the Code could result in a 25% uplift to compensation awards in relevant cases.
Sometime in 2024 and beyond
Neonatal care leave: New right for employed parents whose newborn baby is admitted to neonatal care, allowing them to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
Pensions auto-enrolment: A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) consultation is expected on reducing the lower age limit for pensions auto-enrolment from 22 to 18 and reducing the lower earnings limit.
Occupational health: HM Treasury and HMRC response to the consultation on proposals to expand the current income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) exemptions for certain medical benefits in kind.
Non-compete clause: Confirmation of whether the Government intends to proceed with its May 2023 announced intention to introduce new legislation to limit the duration of non-compete provisions to three months.
Whistleblowing: Outcome of the 2023 review of the whistleblowing framework to be communicated.
Corporate fraud: Legislation introducing a criminal offence of "failure to prevent fraud" by employees, subject to an "adequate procedures to prevent" defence.
Diversity & Inclusion (D&I): New Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority rules regarding non-financial misconduct and also the requirement for firms to develop D&I strategies, collect, report and disclose diversity data, and to set targets to address under-representation. Rules to be published in 2024 and to come into force 12 months after publication.
Artificial intelligence: The House of Commons Science, Innovation and Technology Committee to publish its report on the governance of artificial intelligence.
Non-disclosure agreements: Legislation is expected on introducing restrictions on the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in harassment and discrimination cases.
How will these changes impact your business?
With such a diverse range of developments filtering through over the coming 12 months, there is undoubtedly a lot for businesses and HR teams to consider as the people agenda evolves. We will be following the progress of these reforms closely and other employment law news and cases as new developments emerge.
To discuss any of the areas highlighted in this summary, or any more general employment law matters, with our cross-sector team, please contact Jonathan Chamberlain or Connie Cliff.