Government Announces Planned Changes to Working Time Regulations

Key Legislative Changes and Dates for 2024

In November 2023 the Government announced a host of changes to the current rules surrounding Working Time Regulations together with draft legislation to implement the changes; Here’s a summary of the significant dates and changes for 2024:

Key Legislative Changes and Dates for 2024

1 January: Changes to Working Time Regulations

Requirement for employers to keep “adequate” records for the 48-hour average working week.

Provisions for the carry-over of holiday.

Payment for four weeks of statutory leave reflecting elements of normal remuneration.

8 March: Statutory Paternity Leave Changes

New regulations expected for babies due after 6 April 2024 and for adoptions after this date.

1 April: New Statutory Pay Rates and Holiday Pay Changes

Increase in national minimum wage rates and statutory family leave pay rates.

Holiday pay for irregular and part-year workers set at an hourly rate of 12.07%, with a maximum of 28 days/year.

6 April: New Rights for Flexible Working and Carers

Right to request flexible working becomes a day one right.

Prioritization for alternative vacancies on redundancy extended for certain periods of statutory family leave.

Introduction of a statutory right to carer’s leave.

1 July: Changes in TUPE Information and Consultation

Direct consultation with employees permitted in certain circumstances for transfers happening after this date.

October: Obligation to Prevent Sexual Harassment

Introduction of a duty for employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment.

Other Important Developments

Guidance on Holiday Pay

Detailed government guidance on calculating holiday entitlement and pay for part-year workers and those with irregular hours, following legislative changes in January.

Settlement Agreements and Future Unknown Claims

Scottish Court of Session ruling: Future unknown statutory claims can be waived under a settlement agreement if the types of claims are clearly identified.

This decision is significant for employers, ensuring clarity in settlement agreements to prevent further litigation. However, it’s not binding in Employment Tribunals in England and Wales.

Implications for Employers

Review and Update Practices

Employers should review and adjust their workplace practices and policies to align with these changes.

Clear and Unambiguous Settlement Agreements

It’s vital to have clear, unambiguous wording in settlement agreements, particularly regarding the waiver of future claims.

Awareness of Discrimination and Victimisation Risks

Employers need to be cautious about potential discrimination and victimization, especially in contexts like references, re-employment, or decisions related to payments post-termination.

Continued Attention to Sexual Harassment

The ongoing scrutiny on ‘gagging clauses’ related to sexual harassment and the new obligation to prevent sexual harassment in October 2024.

Employers should stay informed and prepared for these changes to ensure compliance and mitigate risks associated with non-compliance.