Employment law changes for April 2024 – first look

4 minutes
Lewina Farrell

By Lewina Farrell

April traditionally brings some employment law updates and 2024 is no different.  

This year we see a higher than normal rise in the national minimum wage, changes to the right to request flexible working, a new right to unpaid leave for carers, changes to holiday pay for irregular hours and part-year workers plus an extension of protection during pregnancy and those taking certain family leave.  Below we have highlighted the updates in further detail.

This article does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. You should get independent legal advice before introducing any changes identified in this article.

National Minimum Wage rises

The National Minimum Wage rises every year, however from 1 April 2024 we have higher than usual increases:

  • National living wage - now available to those over 21 (previously this was aged over 23) – the rate has increased from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour.
  • For those aged 18 to 20 – the rate has increased from £7.49 to £8.60 per hour.
  • For those over compulsory school age but not yet 18 and for apprentices aged 19 and under (19 and over in their first year of apprenticeship) – the rate has increased from £5.28 to £6.40 per hour.

A new right to carer’s leave 

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 allows unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities.   This leave is a day-one right, available to all employees without any qualifying period. It applies to anyone caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or other dependant who needs care because of a disability, old age or any illness or injury likely to require at least three months’ care. 

Importantly, this leave is unpaid and is for a maximum of one week per year. Also, while employers can’t deny an employee’s request for carer’s leave, they can postpone it if they reasonably consider that the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted if it were approved. So, it remains to be seen how many employees will be able to take such leave.  

For more advice see government guidance on carer’s leave.

Flexible working changes – Day One right to request from April 2024

The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 remove the requirement to have 26 week’s service to make a request for flexible working. The right is now granted to all employees from the first day of their employment, although it only applies to requests made on or after 6 April 2024. Until then employees still needed to have 26 weeks service with their employer before they could make a request.
 The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 makes the following additional changes to the flexible working regulations:

  • Employees will be able to make two flexible working requests a year, rather than the current one. They will no longer be required to explain how the flexible working request might impact the employer.
  • Employers must respond to requests earlier, within two months, rather than three, if no extension is agreed.
  • There are new requirements for employers to consult with the employee before turning down their flexible working request. Importantly, the requirement to ‘consult’ is not defined in the act or the regulations. 

For detailed guidance see the ACAS Code of Practice on requests for flexible working

Holiday pay for part-year and irregular hours workers only

The Working Time Regulations 1998 have been amended to allow employers* to roll up holiday pay for irregular hours and part year workers. These reforms came into force in January, but they apply to leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024.  

  • An irregular hours worker is someone whose paid hours of work are wholly or mostly variable.
  • A part-year worker is someone who only works part of the year (e.g. during term time) and who is only paid when working. In contrast, if someone is paid an annual salary throughout the year, including for weeks when they are not working (school holidays) then they wouldn’t be classed as a part year worker.
  • The rolled-up holiday pay is calculated at 12.07% of the total qualifying pay for that period. Qualifying pay includes commission payments, and any overtime payments which have been paid regularly to a worker in the 52 weeks preceding the holiday pay calculation date.

* Agencies will be able to apply the same to their temporary workers. At TPP we feel it is important for temporary workers to take leave (we all need time to rest and recuperate) so our temps will continue to book and be paid for holiday leave. Importantly, employers cannot pay rolled-up holiday pay to workers with regular hours and fixed pay. 

For more information see ACAS guidance on rolled up holiday pay.

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

Prior to 6 April 2024, employees on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave already had special protection in a redundancy situation. From 6 April, this protection has been extended to pregnant employees and those who have recently returned from maternity or adoption leave and shared parental leave. 

Examples: a pregnant employee who takes maternity leave would be protected for 18 months from the child’s date of birth if they notify the employer before the end of maternity leave. Fathers taking sufficient shared parental leave will also be protected for 18 months.

For further recruitment advice visit the TPP Resources & Support Hub.


Lewina Farrell

Solicitor and Legal Manager

  • info@tpp.co.uk
  • 020 7198 6000
  • TPP Recruitment, Northern & Shell Building, 4th Floor, 10 Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6AF