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Spring is around the corner and April 2024 will bring various developments within employment and immigration law.  Below, we outline the key changes HR teams need to be aware of, and take active steps to prepare for, in advance of April.

Employment law changes

From 6 April 2024 onwards, employees will be entitled to the following extended employment rights:

  • Changes to the statutory flexible working regime: The Flexible Working Act 2023 (and related Regulations) will make various changes to the statutory flexible working regime, including making the right to request flexible working a “day one right”. This means the requirement for an employee to have 26 weeks of continuous employment will no longer apply to applications for flexible working made on or after 6 April 2024. Our employment law experts will be exploring this topic further in our free webinar on 5 March 2024. Click here to find out more.
  • New right to unpaid leave for carers: The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 (and related draft Regulations) will give employees who have a dependant with a long-term care need a statutory right to one week’s unpaid care leave per year. See here for further details.
  • Extra redundancy protections during pregnancy and following family related leave: The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 (and related draft Regulations) will extend the redundancy protections that apply to employees on maternity, adoption and shared parental leave to employees who are pregnant or who have recently returned to work from such leave. See here for further details.
  • Changes to statutory paternity leave: The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 will extend the period within which paternity leave can be taken, provide flexibility as to how it can be taken, and reduce the notice requirements for taking it. These Regulations will take effect from 8 March but will apply in respect of births where the expected week of child birth begins after 6 April, and adoptions where the expected placement date is on or after 6 April. See here for further details.

Employers also need to keep in mind the changes to holiday entitlement and pay for irregular hours and part-year workers which will be applicable in respect of holiday years beginning on or after 1 April 2024 (see here).

We will explore all of the above topics, including how HR can best prepare for the forthcoming changes, at our popular Spring Employment Law Updates (see here to book your place).

Increases to statutory pay rates

The Government has announced annual increases to statutory pay rates, as follows:

  • From 6 April 2024, statutory sick pay will rise from £109.40 to £116.75 per week.
  • From 7 April 2024, statutory maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay, shared parental pay and parental bereavement pay will rise from £172.48 to £184.03 per week.

As noted previously, the various rates of the national minimum wage will increase from 1 April 2024, as follows:

  • The National Living Wage (NLW) currently applies to workers aged 23 and over, but from April will be extended to include 21 and 22 year olds. It will increase from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour.
  • The rate for workers aged 18 to 20 will increase to £8.60 per hour. 
  • The rate for young workers aged 16 to 17 will increase to £6.40 per hour.
  • The apprentice rate will increase to £6.40 per hour.
The Real Living Wage and London Living Wage rates for 2023-24 were announced on 24 October 2023. See here for further details. Living Wage Employers should implement the new rates as soon as possible (and by 1 May 2024 at the latest). 

Immigration law changes

Towards the end of last year, the Government announced a five-point plan to reduce net migration figures, including changes to the rules relating to work migration, due to take effect in Spring 2024. Some of the upcoming changes are likely to have an adverse impact on workforce and business strategies in the manufacturing sector, as outlined below:

  • Skilled Worker Route: The minimum general annual salary threshold will increase from £26,200 to £38,700 for most roles sponsored under the Skilled Worker route from 4 April 2024.
  • Shortage Occupation List: The Government will be adopting recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to remove the current 20% salary threshold discount for occupations on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). The SOL includes occupation codes for roles currently in labour shortages as defined by the Government. The MAC has been commissioned to review the occupations currently on the list and reduce the number of roles on the list (which will also be renamed the Immigration Salary List). The new list is expected to be published on 14 March and to apply from early April 2024.

How we can help

We will continue to provide updates on the ever-evolving HR and employment law agenda throughout the year. In addition to our free webinar on flexible working on 5 March 2024, we will soon be holding our popular Spring Employment Law Updates (see here) at which we will explore the above developments in further detail.

If you are a Make UK subscriber, you can speak to your regular adviser with any queries and to request further consultancy support. Subscribers can also access guidance on a wide range of employment law topics, including template policies and drafting guidance, in the HR & Legal Resources section of our website. 

If you are not a Make UK subscriber, our expert HR and legal advisers can offer guidance on a consultancy basis. For further information, contact us on 0808 168 5874 or email [email protected].

Fragomen, our immigration partner, can support Make UK subscribers to adjust their workforce programmes to ensure compliance with new immigration policies. If you need support on an immigration matter, please speak to your adviser who can put you in touch with Fragomen.

News / Make UK / HR & Legal