Employment Law Changes – April 2024


Kevin McKenna, Head of Employment and Sally Bird, Employment Partner at Kuits Solicitors explain a range of employment law changes which came into effect in April 2024.  Click here to contact Kevin or here to contact Sally for further advice and information.

  1. Flexible Working – New rules for flexible working requests

Previous Position

In order to make a request for flexible working, employees must have worked continuously for the same employer for the past 26 weeks and only one request could be made per year. Employees also had to provide an explanation as to how the flexible working might affect the business and how this could be dealt with. The employer had three months to respond to the employee’s request and did not have to provide their rationale if they refused the request.

Position from 06 April 2024

From 06 April 2024, an application for flexible working is a day one right and employees can make two requests a year. The steps for making an application are:

  1. The employee must write to the employer. However, there is no requirement for the employee to set out a business rationale for the request;
  2. The employer must consider the request and respond to the employee within 2 months;
  3. The Employer will be required to agree to the flexible working request unless they have a genuine business reason not to. A decision to reject the request must be for one or more of the following:

(i) The burden of additional costs
(ii) An inability to recognise work amongst existing staff
(iii) An inability to recruit additional staff
(iv) A detrimental impact on quality
(v) A detrimental impact on performance
(vi) A detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
(vii) Insufficient work available for the periods the employee proposes to work
(viii) Planned structural changes to the employer’s business.

  1. If the employer agrees with the request they must update the employee’s contract of employment.


Update your flexible working policies and put one in place if you do not already have one.

After fair consideration, if you are unable to agree to an employee’s specific flexible working request, you should seek a compromise with the employee, looking at other potential solutions.


  1. Redundancy Protection extended to give pregnant women and new parents greater protection

Previously, when employers were contemplating making an employee redundant, they had to give first refusal on any suitable alternative vacancy for the following groups of protected individuals:

(a) Employees on maternity leave;
(b) Employees on shared paternity leave; or
(c) Employees on adoption leave.

From 06 April 2024, the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 extended the priority status of the above protected groups to employees who are pregnant and who have recently returned from maternity, adoption and shared parental leave for a period of 18 months. The specific enhanced rights for those protected groups are:

Pregnancy: redundancy protection will apply from when the employee notifies the employer of the pregnancy and will end on the day that the statutory maternity ends.

Maternity Leave: redundancy protection will continue until 18 months after the expected week of childbirth or 18 months from the baby’s date of birth if the employer has been notified before the end of maternity leave.

Adoption Leave: redundancy protection begins at the start of the adoption leave and ends 18 months after the child’s placement for adoption or entry into the UK (if an overseas adoption has taken place).

Shared parental leave: If the employees have taken maternity or adoption leave, those periods apply instead. If the employee takes less than six weeks of shared parental leave, the redundancy protection lasts until the end of the shared parental leave. If more than six continuous weeks of leave is taken then it applies 18 months from the baby’s date of birth.


Review your policies and procedures.  Ensure that managers are fully trained on how to identify safeguarded individuals.  In a redundancy situation, it is vital that you demonstrate that you have offered suitable alternative employment to protected employees in order to avoid a potential unfair dismissal / discrimination claims.

  1. New entitlements for carers

Under the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, employees who care for dependents are granted a day one right to take one week of unpaid carer’s leave per year.

A dependent does not need to be a family member.  The requirements are that the dependent reasonably relies on the employee to provide or arrange for care and they must have a long-term care need. Employees are not required to submit evidence to support a request and as is the case with all other statutory leave, employees are protected from dismissal as a result of taking or seeking to take carer’s leave.

Employees will be able to request either a consecutive week’s leave or specific block or half days. Employers may be able to postpone the request, if it disrupts the needs of the business but they will be required to allow the leave to be taken within one month of the original request.


Introduce a policy to reflect the new statutory right and train managers on this, as well as the potential sensitivity of the subject, given that some employees may not wish to disclose why they are having the time off.  Introduce a system to track the number of days taken.

If you do need to postpone the carer’s leave for a genuine business reason, consult the employee and provide in writing the postponement and the reason why.

Castletons Accountants

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