Employment legislation can change frequently which often means changes to our usual practices and policies. Detailed below are any recent and upcoming employment law changes that you should be aware of.
As new laws are implemented, the template policy documents, forms and letters in each section of the employee lifecycle will be updated and linked to the articles here, so you will always have the most up to date information available to you in the Parish HR Support Services pages.
Recent Law Updates
National Minimum Wage hourly rates - April 2024
- National Living Wage (21+) £11.44
- 18-20 Year Old Rate £8.60
- 16-17 Year Old Rate £6.40
- Apprentice Rate £6.40
- Accommodation Offset £9.99
National Minimum Wage Hourly Rates – current until March 2024
- National Living Wage (23+) £10.42
- 21-22 Year Old Rate £10.18
- 18-20 Year Old Rate £7.49
- 16-17 Year Old Rate £5.28
- Apprentice Rate £5.28
- Accommodation Offset £9.10
Please note that the Diocese has a policy, that where possible all employees are paid the Real Living Wage which is currently £12 per hour in the UK (£13.15 in London).
Another thing to note is that if you are paying employees at the National Minimum Wage, and they regularly work overtime, for which they receive time off in lieu, that they must take that time off in lieu within the pay period that they worked the overtime. For example, if your employee is paid weekly and their contracted hours are 20, this would mean that they are paid £228.80 gross pay per week (£11.44 x 20 hours - £288.80). However, if they physically worked 30 hours that week and accrued TOIL for 10 of those hours, but didn’t take them back in that same week, then HMRC would take the total amount paid £288.80 and divide it by 30 hours, giving a “real” hourly rate of £7.63 per hour, which is far below the minimum wage. For this reason, you should ensure that your employees take back any overtime that they have worked, within the pay period, whether that is a weekly or monthly pay period, as HMRC would still calculate this in the same way.
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 – 6th April 2024
Currently all employees have the right to request flexible working after they have been employed for 6 months. They can only make 1 application per year which can be refused only on the grounds of business reasons. From 6th April 2024 employees will be able to request the right to flexible working from day 1 of their employment. They can make 2 requests for flexible working in a 12 month period, and the time that the business needs to give the employee a decision has reduced to 2 months from the day after the application has been given to the employer. Another change that has been made is that the employee no longer needs to provide details about how the change will affect the organisation, and how to mitigate those changes. The flexible working policy and amended forms will be released in the "During Employment" section of the Parish HR Support Service, in April 2024.
Paternity Leave Changes - 6th April 2024
From 8th March, there will be changes to Paternity leave for babies born/ adopted after 6th April 2024. From this date, the employee can now take 2 seperate blocks of 1 week leave (Rather than previously having to take them together). They can now also take them within 52 weeks of the child's birth/adoption (rather than the previous 56 days). When applying to take Paternity leave, employees now only have to give 28 days notice (down from the original 15 weeks notice)
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) – 6th April 2024
Currently under the equality act, pregnant women and those on maternity/adoption leave are protected from discrimination on the grounds of their pregnancy. In lay terms this means that if you need to make redundancies during this protected period, and you cannot keep her on her original contract, then she is entitled to be prioritised for any suitable alternative vacancies if one exists. This protection only existed during the pregnancy and until she returned from maternity leave However from 6th April 2024, pregnant women are protected from the day they tell you they are pregnant, until 18 months after childbirth. Similarly those who are on adoption leave are also protected for 18 months from the date of adoption. If you have an employee who has taken more than 6 weeks of shared parental leave, they now also fall under the same 18 months of protection. The redundancy policy will be released in April 2024 under the "Leavers" Section of the HR Parish Support Service. This will explain the new rules in more detail.
Carers Leave Act – 6th April 2024
Carers leave will be implemented from 6th April 2024 and will give the right to carers to take one week of unpaid leave per year to care for a dependant.
A dependant for the purpose of this Act would be:
- All employees starting from their first day of work.
- It would apply to dependants only. This includes spouses, partners, children, parents, siblings, grandparents or someone who lives with the employee who is dependant on them for care.
- The dependant is required to have long-term care needs, whether physical or mental
The Act also protects the employee from repercussions or dismissal in relation to requesting or taking carers leave. Any dismissal made on this basis would be automatically unfair. The government will release more information including the date this law will be applicable in due course.
Future Law Changes (No date set)
Workers (Predictable terms and conditions) Act 2023 – Late 2024
In September a new bill was given Royal Assent which gives certain workers, agency workers and employees a new statutory right to request a predictable working pattern. Often temporary or zero hours contracts are used for ad-hoc working patterns, however this new act gives the employee the right to request a predictable working pattern. They can do this twice per year. It does not automatically give them a right to a change in their hours however. The Act is likely to have the greatest impact on industries where shift patterns vary as rotas change, and where work is very casual in nature. However, the definition of “lack of predictability” is wide and appears to capture anyone whose hours or days vary in a way which provides them with an absence of certainty in their role. When the new Act is published in its entirety, then more details will follow on the full rules and its application in practice.
Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act – From April 2025
The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 will come into force from April 2025. This new act will provide parents with a right of "up to" 12 weeks’ leave and pay when their baby requires neonatal care in addition to existing parental leave entitlements. The definition of neonatal care is yet to be specified but the general requirement is to support parents or those who will have responsibility for bringing up a baby who has or will receive seven days of medical or palliative care within the first 28 days of birth. It is expected that the length of neonatal leave will be dependent on how long the baby is in hospital for. This additional time will always be added to the end of any other parental leave, such as maternity leave. The qualifying conditions for leave and payment are in line with those for Statutory maternity leave and statutory maternity pay and will be paid at the same rate. More information will be released when the government have set a date for the Act to commence.