Key UK Employment Law Changes Coming into Effect Next Month

March 2024
Region: Europe

A quick reminder of the key employment law changes coming into effect in April.


Employment Law Changes

1 April 2024

National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage

The National Living Wage (NLW) for adults aged 21 and over will increase to £11.44 per hour. Note that the NLW currently applies to workers aged 23 and up, but following recommendations from the Low Pay Commission, the age threshold will be lowered to 21 from 1 April.

The revised hourly National Minimum Wage rates that also take effect on 1 April 2024 are:

  • Workers aged 18-20 – £8.60
  • Workers aged 16-17 – £6.40
  • Apprentices – £6.40

4 April 2024

Gender pay gap reporting

Private sector employers in Great Britain with 250 or more employees must publish their gender pay gap reports on or before 4 April.  

6 April 2024

Increased benefit rates for 2024-25

From 6 April 2024, SSP will increase from £109.40 to £116.75 per week.

From 7 April 2024, SMP, SAP, SPP, SPBP and SSPP will increase from £172.48 to £184.03 per week.

Tribunal compensation limits

New limits on certain Employment Tribunal awards will come into force on 6 April. The two key changes are:

  • The limit on the compensatory award for “ordinary” unfair dismissal will increase from £105,707 to £115,115
  • The maximum amount of a week’s pay for calculating statutory redundancy payments and the unfair dismissal basic award increases from £643 to £700

These new limits will apply to dismissals that take effect on or after 6 April. Note that the cap on the compensatory award for “ordinary” unfair dismissal is the lower of the statutory limit set out above and 52 weeks’ pay of the individual concerned.

Flexible working

Changes to the flexible working regime come into force. Key changes include making the right to request flexible working a “day one” right and allowing employees to make two formal requests in any 12-month period, not just one. See our blog here for why the former is a really bad idea and the second won’t make any difference.  

Greater protection from redundancy for pregnant women and parents

This is by far the most significant of April’s changes. The current redundancy protection period for women on maternity leave is being extended to include pregnancy and for 18 months after childbirth. Similar enhanced protection will apply for those returning from adoption leave and shared parental leave. In each case, the protection means that an employee who is otherwise at risk of redundancy must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy in the employer or its associated companies whether they are or may be the best candidate for it. 

Carer’s leave

A new statutory right to take one week’s unpaid carer’s leave per year for the purpose of caring for a dependant with a long-term care need.

Changes to paternity leave

There are minor changes to the paternity leave regime, including allowing eligible employees to take the current two weeks of paternity leave in two separate blocks of one week at any time in the first year, rather than just in the first eight weeks after birth or placement for adoption. The changes came into force on 8 March 2024, but apply to children whose expected week of childbirth is after 6 April 2024 and children whose expected date of placement for adoption is on or after 6 April 2024.

If you would like further information about these (and other expected developments during 2024), you can listen to the recording from our recent employment law update webinar, in which we discussed the changes outlined above in more detail. 

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