2024 is shaping up to be a busy year for new employment and immigration law.

Important new statutory holiday rules were introduced on 1 January 2024. Some of the rules aim to restate the position on holiday carry over and holiday pay calculations based on earlier case law. Two new categories of worker were created - irregular hours and part-year workers – and there are new rules for calculating holiday entitlement and pay for these workers for holiday years starting on or after 1 April 2024 (including the option of using rolled-up holiday pay).

April sees the usual national minimum wage and statutory rates increases. In addition, the following changes apply from 6 April 2024:

  • The right to make a flexible working request becomes a 'day one' right (rather than requiring 26 weeks' continuous service). Changes to the statutory process include allowing employees to make two requests in 12 months; reducing the employer's response time from three to two months; and a new requirement to consult with the employee before refusing a request.
  • There is a new statutory right for employees to take one week's unpaid carer's leave in each rolling 12-month period 'to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need'.
  • Employees can take paternity leave as two separate blocks of one week (rather than having to choose between one single week or two consecutive weeks). Paternity leave can be taken in the 52 weeks after birth or adoption (rather than just the first 56 days); and in birth cases employees only need to give 28 days' notice of paternity leave dates.
  • If an employee on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave is selected for redundancy, they must be offered alternative employment if there is a suitable available vacancy. This priority status is being extended to employees who have notified their employer that they are pregnant and those who have recently returned from maternity, adoption or a continuous period of at least six weeks' shared parental leave (in some circumstances).

Various changes to the immigration rules also come into force during 2024, including increased minimum salary thresholds for skilled worker visas, a new immigration salary list (replacing the shortage occupation list), amended rules for business visitors and increased illegal working civil penalties.

Other things to look out for later in the year include:

  • The regulation of tips and service charges;
  • New rules for TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) transfers on or after 1 July 2024, allowing employers to consult directly with employees (unless employee representatives are in place) where the business has fewer than 50 employees or the transfer involves less than 10 employees;
  • A new statutory code of practice on 'fire and rehire' (dismissal and re-engagement on new terms);
  • The introduction of a new right for some workers to request a more predictable working pattern; and
  • A new duty on employers to 'take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment' at work.

Some of the 2024 changes are significant, and many will necessitate a review of current processes and policy terms.