All Change: new rates and legislative changes

legislative changes

Statutory rates change annually every April, but this year there seem to be more changes than ever. From new Paternity Leave rules to the creation of ‘predictable terms’, here’s our guide to everything you, as an employer, need to know.

How are flexible working requests changing?

Previously, an employee had to have completed 26 weeks of service to be eligible to make a request for flexible working. However, it is now a ‘day one’ right, and all employees can make an application.

The number of requests has increased – employees can now make two requests in a twelve-month period, as opposed to one.

Employees are no longer required to set out the impact the requested flexibility will have on the organisation (or how that might be dealt with).

Any requests made by employees now will need to be completed within two months – as opposed to the previous timeframe of three months.

What’s happening to Paternity Leave?

Statutory Paternity Leave is still two weeks. However, instead of having to take that all in one block within 56 days of the child’s birth, an employee can now take two separate weeks at different times. (They still have the option of two consecutive weeks.) Paternity Leave cannot be taken as odd, sporadic days.

There is also a change to when Paternity Leave can be used. Now it can be taken within 52 weeks of the child’s birth (rather than 56 days) and an employee only needs to give 28 days’ notice. Previously, they had to give notice during or before the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC).

Do I need to review my holiday policy and arrangements?

Holiday calculations for leave and pay are changing, but only for employees who work irregular hours (e.g., zero hours contracts) or work part year (e.g., term time) only. If you have employees in these categories, the changes will come into force at the start of your next holiday year following April 2024.

New government guidelines mean that holidays for irregular-hours or part year workers can be calculated based on the hours they have worked, rather than applying a standard 5.6-week allowance. The new rules also allow you to pay rolled-up holiday pay (this was previously unlawful). You may need to review – or change – employees’ terms and conditions to implement the changes. If you’re unsure what this might mean for you, we have set out all the changes in a blog post.

What is carer’s leave?

Carer’s leave is a new type of leave that can be used if an employee needs to take time off to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need. The leave entitlement is one week in a twelve-month period, and this can be taken in shorter blocks. It is unpaid. The employee must apply for the leave in writing.

What are ‘predictable terms’?

From September 2024, an employee or worker whose working pattern lacks predictability (either because of when they work, or the duration of their contract) can make a formal request for their working pattern to be made more predictable in some way. Predictability can take different forms. For example, an employee could request a longer fixed-term contract, more regular hours, or – for agency staff – becoming a worker or employee.

Any employee, worker or agency worker (including those on casual contracts and fixed-term contracts of twelve months’ duration or less) who has worked for a company for at least one week in the period before the 26 weeks leading to the date that the application is made is eligible to make a request.

The process mirrors the current set-up for making flexible working requests. If an employee submits a flexible working request that asks for a more predicable working pattern, it will count as one of their two permitted requests under both areas, so it is likely predictable terms will be included in flexible working policies moving forwards.

What are the new statutory rates for 2024?

The new statutory rates for 2023/2024 have been published. Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption, Shared Parental and Parental Bereavement Pay will increase from 7 April 2024 to £184.03 per week (previously £172.48). The rate for Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £116.75 per week (previously £109.40)

The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates have also been increased.

The new rates of the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage from 1 April 2024 are as follows:

AgeHourly rate from 1 April 2024
21 and over (National Living Wage)£11.44
Under 18£6.40
Apprentices (aged under 19 or over 19 and in their first year)£6.40

The accommodation offset will be £9.99 per day (previously £9.10).

There’s a lot to take in here, so if there’s anything you’d like to talk through in more detail, give us a call on 01449 708999 or email [email protected].


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