Employment legislation changes – April 2024 and beyond

It’s that time of year when we consider forthcoming employment legislation changes from April 2024. Being aware of the changes ensures you can prepare for them and protect your business from any legal claims. Here’s a rundown of the changes.

Payroll costs – National Minimum Wage rates

Inflation continues to be a key issue for many employers who are facing pressure to increase wages.  Whilst there is no legal requirement to increase pay to address issues with high inflation rates, the National Minimum Wage/living rates are going up on 1 April 2024, therefore if your pay is based on minimum wage rates per hour, you will need to implement these changes:


Age group Up to 31/3/2024 From 1/4/2024
21 and over £10.18 (£10.42 for 23+) £11.44
18 – 20 £7.49 £8.60
Apprentices under 19 (or over 19 but in year 1 of apprenticeship) and under 18s £5.28 £6.40
Statutory pay rates – From April 2024
Family friendly leave

The rates of Statutory Maternity, Adoption, Paternity, Shared Parental and Parental Bereavement pay will increase to £184.03 per week.

Statutory Sick pay

The rate of Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £116.75 per week.

Statutory redundancy payments

With effect from 6th April 2023, the statutory redundancy pay cap will increase to £700 per week. It’s important to ensure you get up to date compensation information for anyone who leaves due to redundancy on or after this date. You will need to calculate their redundancy pay on the new rate.  If the redundant employee’s normal weekly rate is under the new figure, you should calculate their redundancy compensation based on their actual weekly pay rate.

Rolled-up holiday pay

With effect from the holiday year starting in April 2024 and thereafter, workers who work irregular or part year hours can have their holiday pay rolled in to their pay, rather than accruing actual holiday which has to be taken as leave.  The method of calculating the holiday pay will be 12.07%. Employers should note this only applies to those employees who work irregular or part-year hours. Other employees with set hours (either part or full-time) will accrue paid holiday which must be taken as paid time off.

Flexible Working Requests

With effect from 6th April 2024, employees will be able to make a flexible working request from day one of their employment, removing the current 26 weeks’ service requirement.  Employees will be able to make two requests a year (currently only one request is possible) and they will no longer be required to set out the likely effects on the business of the change.  Employers will be compelled to consult with the employee before rejecting a request and the time allowed for the whole process, including appeal, will be reduced from three to two months.

Statutory Carer’s Leave

Statutory Carer’s Leave will give carers a minimum of one week’s unpaid leave per year to care for a dependant with a long-term care needs, from day one of their employment.

This will be a day one right for employees and is flexible, however it’s likely advance notice will need to be provided, and it may be possible to postpone requests in a similar way to Unpaid Parental Leave.

This right will be in place from 6th April 2024.

Paternity Leave

An amendment to the entitlement for fathers and partners to take Paternity Leave has recently been proposed.  If approved fathers and partners will be able to take their Paternity Leave in two split weeks, should they wish, and the timeframe for taking the leave will be extended from 56 days after the birth, to 12 months after the birth, offering more flexibility to new parents.

This amendment will be effective for babies born or children adopted on or after 6th April 2024.

Redundancy Protection for Pregnancy and Family Leave

This protection extends the right to be redeployed during pregnancy (including if a miscarriage is suffered), maternity and family leave for 18 months after the start of that leave. These are important considerations during an employee’s family/maternity leave and in restructuring or redundancy exercises.  Employers who breach this protection will risk claims for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination (with uncapped compensation).

This new protection will be in place from April 2024.

Upcoming changes to be confirmed

2024 is potentially going to be another busy year for changes in employment law.  This is a summary of what may be in the pipeline when it comes to employment legislation changes from April 2024.  In some cases there are no firm dates for implementation however, it pays to be ahead of the changes and consider how they may affect you and your business in advance of the bills being passed in to law.

Employment Allocation of Tips Act

This ban will make it unlawful for employers to withhold tips from staff.  In addition, employers must also have a written policy related to tip allocation in place.  This will apply to tips, gratuities and service charges given during the previous month.

This is expected to be in place from July 2024.

Statutory Neonatal Care Leave

This statutory leave will allow parents whose babies need hospital neonatal care to take 12 weeks’ paid leave. This is in addition to their statutory maternity, shared parental or paternity leave. The right will:

  • be available from day one of employment;
  • apply to parents with babies who are admitted to hospital before they are 28 days old;
  • apply to babies who need to stay in hospital for 7 days continuously or more.

This is expected to be in place from April 2025.

Right to request more predictable working patterns

Employees and workers (including agency and zero hours workers) will have the right to formally request a more stable working pattern.  In addition, this right will also be available to those on fixed-term contracts of less than a year.  This right will apply after 26 weeks of continuous employment.

Employers will only be able to refuse requests  if there is a legal reason for refusing the request.

This is expected to be in place ‘in due course’.

Proactive duty to prevent sexual harassment

This will require employers to have proactive measures in place to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.  As a result employers will be legally responsible if no measures are in place.  And that responsibility applies, regardless of whether or not an incident has occurred. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in increased compensation of up to 25%.

This is expected to be in place from October 2024.

Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) Act 2023

This Act brings in changes to the Automatic Enrolment populations and employers who use Qualifying Earnings to calculate contributions:

  • Lowering the age criteria for auto-enrolment from 22 to 18 years of age
  • Removing the Lower Earnings Limit of £6,240 if you’re using qualifying earnings

There is no indication at this point when this change will come in to effect.

If you’re concerned about what these employment legislation changes from April 2024 mean for your business and need help reviewing your policies, please get in touch with Helpful HR.

Bullying at work

The topic of bullying at work was in the mainstream media in April 2023 after the resignation of the then deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab after an investigation in to claims of bullying made against him; especially after his underwhelming acceptance of the allegations against him, famously stating that “in setting the threshold for bullying so low, this inquiry has set a dangerous precedent” in his resignation letter.

Dominic Saab’s resignation came less than two years after Priti Patel (then Home Secretary) was accused of bullying and was found to have been in breach of the ministerial code.

What is Bullying?

When it comes to dealing with bullying at work, as a business you need to identify or define what ‘bullying’ is, so you can ensure your employees have a clear understanding of what it actually means.

In guidance from ACAS they say that there is no legal definition of ‘bullying’ but it is described as unwanted behaviour from a person or group that is either:

  • Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
  • An abuse or misuse of power that undermines, humiliates, or causes physical or emotional harm to someone.

This behaviour could be a pattern or a one off, face to face, on social media, emails, phonecalls, outside of work or in work, and it can go unnoticed by others. It could be among peers, or in a senior/junior relationship (and despite what you might think, a senior person can be bullied by a junior person).

The union Unison also has some clear guidelines and defines bullying as persistant offensive, intimidating, humiliating behaviour, which attempts to undermine an individual or a group of employees.

Likewise Indeed.com has some advice about bullying, describing a workplace bully as someone who repeatedly harms or mistreats employees by causing them pain or engaging in other forms of physical or verbal harassment.

Legal firms often describe bullying as offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating behaviour, or an abuse of power or authority which attempts to undermine an individual or group of employees, and which may cause them to suffer work-related stress.

There is no shortage of information about what bullying may involve, leaving organisations with no room to claim ignorance on the subject.

Examples of bullying

Bullying takes different forms, so to illustrate the breadth of possibilities, it’s helpful to outline some examples to bring the topic to life.  Examples could include:

  • Setting someone up to fail / setting impossible targets
  • Spreading malicious rumours about someone
  • Making humiliating comments about someone online
  • Undermining someone’s authority
  • Undermining someone’s competence with constant criticism
  • Ridiculing someone openly, by blaming or criticising them in front of others
  • Making threats about the security of someone’s employment if they exercise a right, or make a reasonable request

At work, it’s unlikely the bullying will take a physical form, and it will be more verbal and emotionally challenging behaviour.


If someone expresses upset about another person’s behaviour towards them does that automatically make them a bully?  Unfortunately, there are shades of grey when it comes to this issue.  The investigation into a complaint will be key in identifying if it was a reasonable response to someone’s behaviour.

If a someone says, “Your shoes are an interesting colour!” and the recipient of the comment states they are offended or feel belittled, does that mean they’re being bullied?  The question is whether it was reasonable to expect someone to be offended or feel belittled by a comment.

However, if someone says, “Come on, old man, do you need a sit-down?!” even as a joke, the question of whether it was reasonable to be offended by that comment may be easier to answer.  But it’s rarely that easy, so the investigation into the behaviour and the context needs to be done with an open mind, and with the definition of bullying and the relevant complaints procedure front and centre.

Direct financial risks to your business

The most obvious risk employers will be concerned about is the risk of a legal claim.  So what does that actually mean, and what is the risk?

Under the Equality Act 2010, if the bullying is due to a ‘protected characteristic’ then it is classed as harassment.  Protected characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Pregnancy (also covered under direct discrimination legislation)

Any harassment claim at an employment tribunal under the Equality Act 2010 has an uncapped potential award. This means it’s difficult to quantify the potential financial risk, but the cost of defending a claim will be substantial (by current estimates, upwards of £15k), without including the compensation the Tribunal panel may award, if the claim is successful.

The other risk of a bullying claim is for constructive dismissal (Unfair Dismissal). This would arise if the employee feels the bullying is so bad they have no option but to leave.  Awards for Unfair Dismissal are capped at around a year’s salary, or c.£90k, so still represents significant financial risk.

Indirect financial risks to your business

The impact of having a workplace which tolerates (or fails to address) bullying could be serious.  Your workforce will operate in a state of fear,  afraid to make mistakes or put forward new ideas.  This does not engender creativity or engagement at work, both of which will affect your productivity.

Your attrition rates will increase as employees leave what they feel is a ‘toxic’ culture. As a result your recruitment costs will go up, and you will lose talent.

In addition, do not underestimate the power of reputational damage.  Social media platforms provide an opportunity for unhappy employees to share their experiences. With the advent of websites like Glassdoor, employers who fail to deal with bullying will quickly be exposed, making it even harder to attract and retain talent. It may also affect the success of the business. Potential customers may choose a competitor due to the reputation you have as an employer, directly hitting your bottom line.

Practicalities of dealing with it

The first thing to do is make sure you have an anti-bullying and harassment policy place. You should ensure it’s shared with all your workers, and that it is followed. This is a communication and training piece, AND a leadership one.  Leaders must lead by example, otherwise the policy ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s written on’ (to coin a phrase).

Best practice is for employers to create an inclusive culture.  Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD states workplaces should have a “safe culture where people can speak up, where differences are respected and celebrated.” Research by the CIPD shows that employees are looking for an inclusive and supportive culture.

As well as having a policy and communicating it to everyone, leaders and managers need to ‘walk the walk’. Managers need training to recognise bullying, encourage people to flag concerns to them, and ensure they investigate and address it.  There should be a consistent approach, therefore following policy and procedure is key.  The investigation must have integrity and confidentiality so any subsequent decisions are fair and reasonable, and are seen as such.


Dealing with bullying is never easy, undoubtedly, but it needs to be done reduce risk to your business. If you have concerns about culture in your business and you don’t know where to start, get in touch here.