Key employment law updates | January 2024

Government publishes guidance on holiday pay and entitlement reforms

Changes to the law on holiday came into force on 1 January 2024. We reported on the changes to irregular hours and part year workers in our previous article.

The government has now published guidance on the changes covering:

  • The definition of an "irregular hour worker" and a "part-year worker".
  • Holiday entitlement for irregular hours workers and part-year workers.
  • Carryover of leave
  • Holiday pay calculations

Draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 published

The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 come into force on 8 March 2024. They propose the following changes to paternity leave: 

  • Fathers (or partners) may choose to take two weeks' paternity leave as two separate one-week blocks, rather than being limited to taking it in one block.
  • Reduction of the period of notice required for specifying the start date of the period of paternity leave and its duration, to 28 days.
  • Extension of the period when fathers (or partners) can take paternity leave to any time in the 52 weeks after birth or placement with the adopter.

The regulations are due to apply in respect of children whose expected week of birth, or expected placement for adoption, takes place on or after 6 April 2024.

Consultation published on draft statutory code of practice to support the measures in the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023

The draft code provides guidance on how employers can meet the requirements of "fair and transparent" distribution of tips under the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 ("the Act").

Employers will be required to have regard to the code when designing and implementing their tipping policies and practices. In the event of disputes in relation to tipping practices, employment tribunal judges will have a duty to take the code into account. However, failure to fully observe the code will not in itself amount to proof that the employer has been acting unfairly.

The consultation is open until 22 February 2024. The government's aim is for the full measures of the Act and the code to come into force on 1 July 2024.

Labour campaign document includes employment law commitments

Labour has published a campaign document, "Let's Get Britain's Future Back", which contains several employment law commitments should they be elected. These include delivering a genuine living wage, banning zero hours contracts, ending "fire and rehire" and transforming the apprenticeship levy. Further details on the proposals are awaited.

Department for Education publishes guidance for employers on supporting kinship carers in the workplace

"Kinship care" is where a child is being raised in the care of a family member or family friend who is not their parent. The Government has published a guidance document on supporting kinship carers in the workplace, given the recognition that kinship care provides better outcomes compared to children in foster and/or residential care however remaining in work can present a challenge for many kinship carers.

The guidance document can be accessed here. It covers adapting HR policies, signposting to existing workplace entitlements, and creating a culture of support.

Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) publishes consultations on guidance for employers on recruitment and keeping employment records

The ICO is producing topic-specific guidance for employers on employment practices and data protection. Two draft guidance documents have now been published for consultation on keeping employment records and recruitment and selection.

The guidance documents are designed to help employers understand their data protection obligations when keeping employment records and handling the personal information of candidates in recruitment. The consultations are open until 5 March 2024

Acas publishes draft Code of Practice for parliamentary approval on requests for flexible working

The draft Code of Practice provides updated guidance for employers and employees on their legal rights, responsibilities and good practice in making and handling statutory requests for flexible working.

The updates are required due to the pending changes to flexible working by the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 and the Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023.

Consultation published on introducing fees in the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal

The proposal is to introduce a claim issue fee in the Employment Tribunal and an appeal fee in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, with several exemptions from the fees to apply in certain circumstances. The consultation is open until 25 March 2024. Further details can be found here.