2024 is set to be a busy year for employment lawyers and human resources professionals, with various new laws expected to come into effect during the course of the year which employers will need to proactively prepare for. We provide an at-a-glance guide of what changes take effect when.
At a glance: Key legislative changes for 2024
Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE): From 1 January 2024 it is no longer a requirement for employers to consult with affected employees via representatives on a TUPE transfer if their business employs fewer than 50 employees, or (for transfers on or after 1 July 2024) where a TUPE transfer involves fewer than 10 employees (regardless of the size of the employer). Read more on our employment law watch blog.
Holiday and working time: Legislation clarifying the meaning of ‘normal remuneration’ (to include regular payments such as commission and bonuses) takes effect from 1 January 2024, and simplified record keeping requirements apply from the same date, meaning employers must keep ‘adequate’ records, but they do not need to keep records of daily working hours. Read more on our employment law watch blog.
Equality: The Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Regulations 2023 take effect on 1 January 2024, reproducing into domestic law established equality principles derived from the EU.
National Insurance Contributions (NICs): Class 1 employee NICs will be cut from 12% to 10% on 6 January 2024.
Right to work fines: From 22 January 2024, the fine for employing someone who does not have the right to work in the UK increases from £15,000 to £45,000 per illegal worker.
Immigration: Changes to the visitor visas take effect on 31 January 2024, meaning that visitors will be permitted to undertake client facing corporate activity, provided that activity is incidental to their employment elsewhere rather than an offshoring project. Remote working under a visitor visa will also be allowed, provided remote working is not the primary reason for their visit to the UK.
Covid related holiday carry over: The temporary rules allowing extended carry over of holiday which could not be taken due to Covid will end on 31 March 2024.
National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW): The usual annual increase in NLW and NMW will take effect on 1 April 2024, this year also seeing a change in the age bracket for eligibility for the NLW. The new rates are: £11.44 for individuals over the age of 21; £8.60 for individuals 18-20 years of age; and £6.40 for individuals 16-17 years of age and apprentices.
Working time: Beginning 1 April 2024, for those working irregular hours or part of a year, rolled up holiday pay will be permitted (for any leave years starting on or after this date), and a 12.7% accrual method for calculating holiday pay will apply. Read more on our employment law watch blog.
Carer’s leave: Expected to apply starting 6 April 2024, employees will have the day-one right to one week of unpaid leave (which can be taken in one go or over a number of full or half days) in a 12-month period for the purposes of providing or arranging care for a dependent with a long term care need. Employees are protected from suffering detriment or dismissal because they have, or look to, take the leave. Requests for leave must be provided in writing giving a minimum level of notice and there are limited provisions for employers postponing the time off.
Flexible working: The right to request flexible working will become a day one right (i.e., removing the 26-week service requirement) for requests made on or after 6 April 2024. This change to flexible working is in addition to those previously announced (allowing workers to make two requests in any 12-month period (up from one), requiring a response within two months (down from three), removing the need for employees to explain in their application the effect of their request, and a new requirement on employers to consult before rejecting a request) – further regulations will be needed to confirm a commencement date for these, although for alignment, it is now likely to also be 6 April, a couple of months earlier than previously suggested.
IR35: Starting 6 April 2024, there is expected to be a new set off mechanism (back-dated to apply to errors arising from 6 April 2017 (unless a settlement with HMRC has already been reached)) whereby HMRC will reduce the PAYE liability of a deemed employer in the event of incorrect treatment of an individual as self-employed, allowing an offset for certain taxes already paid by the worker.
Redundancy protection: Extended statutory protections for those on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave (SPL) in a redundancy situation will apply beginning 6 April 2024. The law currently provides priority for these groups for ‘suitable alternative employment’ whilst they are on the relevant family leave. Whilst there are some nuances in the specifics between the different types of leave, the new protections (assuming approved as drafted) essentially extend the period of protection, to 18 months after child is born or placed for adoption.
Fire and rehire: Following a consultation on the draft content during 2023, the final version of the Statutory Code of Practice on Fire and Rehire is expected in Spring 2024.
Statutory rates: The annual increases to statutory rates for maternity, paternity, adoption, parental bereavement, shared parental leave and statutory sick pay, and the cap on a ‘weeks’ pay’ (e.g., statutory redundancy payments and the unfair dismissal basic award) will take effect on April 2024, although the new rates and effective dates have not yet been announced.
Immigration – migration: The UK government made a number of announcement aimed at restricting work migration from Spring 2024. These include increasing the minimum salary requirements under the skilled worker route, removing the salary discount for jobs on the shortage occupation list, and increasing the financial thresholds for family applications. Employers utilising these programmes are likely to face increased costs as a result and should revisit their policies and practices in this area to prepare for the changes.
Tips: The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 placing a duty on employers to ensure that tips are allocated fairly to workers is expected to come into force in May 2024.
Predictable contracts: The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is expected to come into effect in September 2024. This legislation allows workers and agency workers the right to request (up to two times in a 12-month period) a predictable working pattern in certain circumstances. It is anticipated that there will be a minimum service requirement of 26 weeks, and applications can be rejected on statutory grounds. As with other statutory rights, workers will be protected from suffering detriment because they have made an application and will have recourse where employers have failed to follow the appropriate procedure. A consultation on the accompanying statutory code of practice is expected in advance.
Harassment: The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023, which places a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to avoid discrimination in the workplace, and the power for tribunals to uplift compensation by 25% where an employer fails in this duty is expected to come into force in October 2024. Read more on our employment law watch blog.
Neonatal care: The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 was passed in May 2023 providing for a new statutory right for paid time off for eligible parents in the event their baby needs neonatal care. Whilst it is possible that enacting regulations will be in place during 2024, it is more likely to be April 2025.
Non-complete clauses: In May 2023, the government announced its intention introduce a three-month limit on non-compete clauses in contracts of employment. However, there has been no further movement on this, and so a timescale for implementation remains unclear. Read more about the announcement in our employment law watch blog.