As you are reading this we hope you are taking a well-earned break, after a productive 2023. It has been a year in which we have seen the rise of AI, a continued cost of living crisis and the King’s coronation. There were fewer HR changes, with many of the more significant pieces of legislation being deferred to 2024.
Looking ahead to 2024
So if legislation proceeds as planned, we are set for a far busier 2024 on the HR front. Not everything we outline below is set in stone, but rest assured that once regulations are finalised and Acas best practices are published, we will prepare policies for our clients.
National Insurance cuts – In the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced a cut to employee National Insurance from 12% to 10%. This comes into effect from 6th January so be sure your payroll systems are up to date.
National Living/Minimum Wage – Sticking with payroll, there were larger than usual rises to the National Minimum and Living Wages announced in the Autumn Statement, as advised by the Low Pay Commission. The Living Wage was extended to 21- and 22-year-olds for the first time. Previously it kicked in for 23-year-olds.
From April 2024, the National Living Wage will increase by £1.02 to £11.44; the National Minimum Wage for 18-20 year-olds will increase by £1.11 to £8.60 and the apprentice rate for 16-17 year-olds will increase by £1.12 to £6.40. It will be helpful to start budgeting for these changes now, if relevant.
The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 – A new right is being introduced, permitting employees to request one week of unpaid leave a year to care for a dependant with a long-term care need.
Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 – This extends the rights of employees to request flexible working from the provisions already in place. Employees will have a day one right to make a request (rather than after six months of employment), and be able to make two requests a year (instead of one). You will have the right to decline the request for a valid business reason, but you will have less time to give your response – two months instead of three.
Post-Brexit employment law changes – Holiday pay calculations and rollovers are changing from April 2024 (despite many businesses operating a January to December holiday year).
TUPE obligations are becoming less onerous, with the requirement to consult with elected representatives removed where you have fewer than 50 employees or fewer than 10 employees are transferring, as long as no existing representatives are in place. You can liaise directly with the employees instead.
So long as you have adequate methods for recording working time, you will no longer need to keep additional records for maintaining working hours and rest. We suspect many businesses were not keeping these additional records anyway.
Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2024 – From May 2024 it is expected that this act will come into force affecting hospitality businesses, requiring that 100% of tips are paid to staff before the end of the month in which the tips were made. This includes tips made by bank card. It will also be necessary for employers to have a written tip distribution policy. A statutory code of practice is currently being drafted.
Also in 2024, a greater responsibility will be placed on employers to protect staff from sexual harassment whilst working – for instance from customers; that there will be extra protection from redundancy for employees on maternity or adoption leave; and that employees with unpredictable working patterns (like zero-hour contracts) will gain a new right to request more certainty.
Here by your side
As ever, The HR Dept stands ready to support you with all your HR needs in 2024. Please do not hesitate to give them a call. And if you would like all your policies automatically updated to reflect employment law changes every year, sign up to Advice Line.