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Suzanna Ghazal


Last week Emma O’Connor gave an overview of the multitude of employment law changes expected in 2024, including amendments to the Equality Act and Working Time Regulations from January 2024. This week, Suzanna Ghazal provides a summary on the changes relating to carers leave, paternity leave and flexible working requests expected to come into force in April 2024.


Carers leave changes

Currently, there is no dedicated statutory leave entitlement for individuals who work alongside their caring responsibilities.

From 6th April 2024, employees will have a statutory right to a week's unpaid leave to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.

We now have sight of the Carers Leave Regulations 2024 in draft form. The leave will be a day one right, which means that employees do not need to have a particular length of service to qualify. Employees will be protected from dismissal and/or detriment if the reason for their detriment/dismissal was because they took or sought to take carers leave.

It is advised that employers create or update policies and offer training to managers on how carers leave will work in practice, and educate on the protections offered.


Paternity leave changes

The rules on paternity leave are set to become more flexible. Under the new rules, employees will be able to take statutory paternity leave at any point during the first year of birth or placement for adoption and will be able to split their leave into two separate chunks of one week (note that overall entitlement will remain at two weeks’ leave).

Further, the length of notice required is changing. At the moment, employees need to give 15 weeks’ notice of paternity leave dates before the expected week of birth. From April 2024, those who wish to take paternity leave will only have to provide 28 days’ notice of their intended leave dates, but will need to give their notice of entitlement at least 15 weeks before birth.

Statutory paternity pay (as well as all statutory family pay, i.e. Statutory maternity pay) will go up slightly in April to £184.03. It is worth noting that employers often decide to pay full pay, given the period of leave is so short.

It is expected that the Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations will come into force on 8th March 2024, but will only apply to children expected to be born after 6th April 2024.

We recommend an update of paternity leave policies and informing managers of these new changes so that they are up to speed.


Flexible working changes

Back in July 2023, Emma O’Connor reported that The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 had received Royal Assent.

As a reminder, the following changes will take place (from April 2024):

  • Employees will have a day one right to request flexible working arrangements (meaning no length of service will be required);
  • Employers will need to consult with the employee before rejecting a request;
  • Employers will have 2 months to complete the statutory process rather than 3 months;
  • Employees will be able to make 2 statutory flexible working requests every 12 months – currently, employees can only make one statutory request a year;
  • An employee will no longer have explain what (if any) effect their request will have on the employer or how the impact might be dealt with.

The ACAS draft code of practice on flexible working can be found on their website, although note that it is a draft and the date it will come into force has not yet been confirmed. This was published on 11th January 2024.

We anticipate that there will be a higher volume of flexible working requests following the changes in April 2024. We recommend updating your flexible working policies so that they align with the new upcoming laws. We would also recommend training managers on dealing with requests effectively, particularly given the reduced time limit to deal with a request.


We can help with employment law changes

HR need to stay up to date with the changes and the implementation dates, especially where those changes will necessitate a change in policy or even a new policy. Whether it is advice on the changes, revising policies or training managers or updating HR teams, we are here to help you. We offer training, webinars and 1-1 legal advice covering employment law, for these services you can email our employment law team on [email protected]

Get in touch

If you have any questions relating to this article or would like help on employment law within your business or training, please contact

[email protected]
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