This site uses cookies to improve your browsing experience and analyse use of our website. By clicking ‘I accept’ you agree and consent to our use of cookies. You can find out more about our cookies here. Find out more

What are the major employment law developments for 2024?

What are the major employment law developments for 2024?

Donal Moon

The following changes came into force on 1 January 2024 and will begin to apply to employers at various points throughout 2024.   

These are largely positive for employers, reducing some more onerous burdens and fixing some of the issues which emerged as a result of case law in recent years: 

Working time record keeping

The government has relaxed working time record keeping requirements so that employers are no longer required to keep a full record of all working hours and rest breaks taken. However, they are now required to comply with the less onerous burden of keeping ‘adequate’ records. This change took effect from 1 January 2024.  

Coronavirus annual leave carry over

The rules that allowed employees to carry over leave for two years, if prevented from taking it because of Coronavirus, have been repealed. Employees will now have to take any Coronavirus-accrued leave that was accrued before 1 January 2024 on or before 31 March 2024. Thereafter, holiday which cannot be taken because of Coronavirus will be subject to the normal rules, which limit carry-over to 18 months. 

Holiday entitlement and pay for irregular hours and part-year workers

The government has taken action in the wake of the Supreme Court case in Harpur Trust vs. Brazel, to ensure that holiday and holiday pay for irregular hours and part-year workers is proportionate to actual hours worked. This is also to ensure that employers have the freedom to apply a less onerous calculation method.  Employers will now have the option, for leave years commencing on or after 1 April 2024, to do the following for part-year workers and irregular hours workers only: 

  • To calculate holiday entitlement using a multiplier of 12.07% of hours worked in the previous pay period using a fixed point reference period of 52 weeks at the end of each leave year rather than having to calculate it every time the employee takes leave;  
  • To use rolled-up holiday pay, which is the practice of including an element of holiday pay in an employee’s wages, effectively paying them in lieu of holiday, provided that they are transparent about this by including the amount paid on the workers’ payslips.  

Employers thinking of implementing these changes to holiday and holiday pay should first review their part-year workers and irregular hours workers’ contracts and identify the annual leave year.  If the worker’s leave year commences before April 2024 then you will not be able to implement any change until your 2025 leave year.   


Organisations with less than 50 employees or organisations of any size carrying out TUPE transfers of less than 10 employees will be able to inform and consult directly with the employees about the TUPE transfer instead of having to invite the affected employees to elect representatives to inform and consult with.  The rule change applies to transfers due to take place on or after 1 July 2024 and will certainly be a welcome change for employers.   

 A number of other changes are coming into force on 6 April 2024, which will strengthen employee rights and mean new obligations for employers.

Paternity leave

From 6 April 2024, employees will have the flexibility to be able to take paternity leave in one block of 2 weeks or in shorter, 1 week blocks (or even just 1 block of a week).  The notice requirement will also be reduced to 4 weeks before the expected week of childbirth or placement for adoption and it can be taken at any time in the 52 weeks after the birth or adoption.  

Carer’s leave

From 6 April 2024, employees who have dependents with long-term care needs will have the right, from day one of employment, to take one week’s unpaid carer’s leave in any 12-month period.   

Flexible working

From 6 April 2024, all employees will have the right to make two flexible working requests a year from day one of their employment.  Employers will be obliged to consult with the employee before they can refuse a request and they must make their decision in two months instead of three. Employees will no longer have to explain what effect their requested change may have on the employer and how any such effect might be dealt with. 

Redundancy – extension of pregnancy protected period

From 6 April 2024, the protected period for pregnant employees who are on family friendly leave will be extended to six months from the date they return from their maternity, shared parental, or other type of family friendly leave.  In practice, this means that they must be offered suitable alternative employment if they are at risk of redundancy.  Employers should ensure that they carefully record the date a pregnant employee’s protected period expires and ensure any decision makers in redundancy situations are aware of it to avoid any protected employee being inadvertently missed.  

Further employer friendly changes will be coming in at various points throughout 2024 and 2025:  

Duty to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace

A new law obliging employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees is due to come into force in October 2024 with a new discretion for tribunals to increase compensation for a successful tribunal claim by 25% if the provision is breached. It had originally been proposed to restore employer liability for harassment of employees by third parties but the House of Lords removed this provision.  Employers may wish to take steps to prepare for this in advance by updating their equal opportunities policies, communicating the new policies to managers and staff and ensuring that all staff receive regular training on the policy.  

Neonatal leave and pay

A new law giving employees the right to paid neonatal care leave is expected to come into force in 2025.  There is a long lead time for bringing this in as several regulations need to be laid before parliament before it can begin to apply.  The leave will be for a maximum of 12 weeks and the pay will be at the statutory rates for other family-friendly leave.  We do not yet know what the notice requirements will be for neonatal leave and pay.   

In addition to all of these guaranteed changes, there will be a general election in 2024, so there may well be further changes in 2025, depending on the outcome.   

Labour, for example, has some interesting and comprehensive proposals for what it intends to do if it wins the general election.   

The proposals include:  

  • Increase in minimum wage;  
  • Increase in union friendly laws and reversal of some of the current government’s anti-union legislation; 
  • A total ban on zero hours contracts; 
  • A total ban on the practice of firing and rehiring;  
  • Reform of employment status to replace the two statuses of employee and worker with one status of worker, meaning that all but self-employed would be workers with the full range of employment rights, including the right to claim unfair dismissal; 
  • Reform of unfair dismissal laws, including making unfair dismissal a day one right that workers will be able to claim and removing the statutory cap on compensation for unfair dismissal;  
  • Increasing the time limits for bringing tribunal claims;  
  • Expanding equality and discrimination law, in particular requiring employers to publish disability and ethnicity pay gap reports and extending equal pay claims to race.   

Detailed commentary is beyond the scope of this article as we do not know who will win any general election, which we expect to happen as the election nears, but it is clear that the proposals, if implemented, would signal a shift towards much more worker-friendly employment laws.   

We will be issuing further updates as and when further developments occur.