70% of employers not aware of new flexible working rules

  • Employment Law
New employment laws
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

Are you up to speed on recent changes to your employees’ rights? Many employers are not prepared

Recent poll results published by Acas just before a raft of new laws came into effect showed that 70% of employers were not aware that the flexible working system was to be overhauled.

So what has happened with flexible working?

Employees no longer need to have 26 weeks continuous service to bring a flexible working request on or after 6 April 2024. This means that employees can make a request from the first day of their employment.

The number of requests per 12 month period has doubled from one to two. The application process for employees has changed because they no longer have to explain what impact they think their proposed change will have. Employers now have only two months to conclude a request, including an appeal, instead of three months but can still agree with the employee to extend that period. Lastly, employers cannot now reject a request without consulting with an employee over the request.

And for the other April changes to employment law?

National Living Wage and statutory payments

The National Living Wage rate increased to £11.44 per hour and is now payable to workers aged 21 and over. Those aged 18 to 20 are now entitled to £8.60 per hour and the rate for those over school age, but not yet 18, is now £6.40 per hour. Apprentices are also now entitled to receive £6.40 per hour. All of these increases are in place from 1 April 2024.

Statutory Sick Pay rose to £116.75 per week from 6 April 2024. Statutory Maternity Pay and other similar family leave payments rose to £184.03 per week from 7 April 2024.

Carer’s Leave

From 6 April 2024, employees who have a dependant with a long-term care need are entitled to take carer’s leave, a brand new type of leave. They will be able to take up to one working week of unpaid leave per 12 months, to provide or arrange care for their dependant.

Enhanced protection during redundancy

Employees who are on maternity leave already have enhanced protection when in a redundancy situation; they have the right to be offered suitable alternative employment, when it is available, ahead of anyone else. On 6 April 2024, this protection was extended to cover pregnant employees and also those returning from maternity, adoption and shared parental leave for a period of 18 months after the birth/adoption.  

Paternity leave

When the expected week of childbirth is after 6 April 2024 or the expected date of placement is on or after 6 April 2024, employees can take two separate weeks of paternity leave and will have a year from the birth or adoption to take it. There are also changes to the notification of leave process.

Holiday entitlement and pay for irregular hours and part year workers

For leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024, holiday for irregular and part year workers accrues on the last day of the pay period, at the rate of 12.07% of hours worked in that pay period. Rolled up holiday is once again a lawful practice.

Employers should note the phased implementation of this law; it can only be used for new leave years which start on or after 1 April 2024. Therefore, the new law will not apply to those with a January to December leave year until 1 January 2025.

Visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like What does it mean to consult with an employee in the new flexible working rules?

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