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New Employment legislation has expanded rights for employees regarding flexible working, careers leave and paternity, and protection from redundancy during parental leave

Updated: Apr 29

This blogs provides a summary of recent employment law changes that came into effect on the 6th April 2024. New legislation has expanded rights for employees regarding flexible working, Careers leave and Paternity, and protection from redundancy during parental leave

A number of notable adjustments to employment law have come into effect as of April 6, 2024. These changes, impacting England, Scotland, and Wales, aim to enhance various aspects of employee rights and protections. However, it is important to note that these changes do not extend to Northern Ireland.

1.    Enhanced Protection for Pregnant Employees against Redundancy: Under the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, and the Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024, pregnant employees now enjoy extended protection from redundancy for up to 18 months. This safeguard begins from the day the employer is notified of the pregnancy and extends until 18 months after the child's birth. Similarly, this protection extends to 18 months after adoption for parents on adoption leave or after the child's birth for those taking at least six weeks of shared parental leave.


2.    Introduction of Careers Leave: The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 and the corresponding Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 introduce a provision allowing employees to take one week of unpaid leave annually to fulfil caring responsibilities. This entitlement is available from the commencement of employment without any qualifying period. Employees caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, or dependent with a disability, old age, or requiring at least three months of care due to illness or injury are eligible.


3.    Amendments to Flexible Working Rights: The Employment Rights (Flexible Working) Act 2023 introduces enhancements to flexible working arrangements. Employees can now submit two requests per year for flexible working, with employers required to respond within two months. Additionally, employers must provide reasons for denying requests, while employees are no longer obligated to detail the impact of their request. Through a separate piece of secondary legislation these changes also allow employees to request flexible working from their first day of employment, eliminating the previous 26-week qualifying period.

4. Increased Flexibility for Paternity Leave: The Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024. afford greater flexibility to employees taking statutory paternity leave. Eligible employees can now split their two weeks' entitlement into two separate one-week blocks within the first year after their child's birth. Furthermore, the notice period for each week of leave has been reduced to 28 days, down from the previous 15 weeks. However, employees are still required to give 15 weeks' notice before the expected date of birth.

These changes signify a concerted effort to adapt employment laws to evolving societal needs and ensure fair treatment and protection for employees across various circumstances.

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If anyone would like any HR support on this topic or needs help updating their handbook or policies please reach out to Progressive HR Solutions via email , website .


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