As of April 2024, a number of employment law changes have come into effect. Things such as flexible working, redundancy protections and paid leave allowances have all been changed, in an effort to keep up with the needs of the 2024 workforce. Each of these changes will affect businesses in how they will have to amend their benefits packages and how they operate. Below outlines  exactly what changes have been made and, as an employer, what you will need to keep an eye on.

Flexible Working

Following the Royal Assent of the Employment Rights (Flexible Working) Act 2023, millions of workers across the UK will have more flexibility over when and where they work. Under the new regulations, the below changes have now come into effect:

  • Employees will be able to request flexible working arrangements from day one of their employment, rather than after 26 weeks as previously
  • If an employer declines a request, they have to explain the reasons behind their decision to the employee, compared to previously where requests could be declined without any explanation
  • Employers must respond to a request within 2 months- previously the deadline was 3 months
  • Employees have the right to make two requests for flexible working within a 12 month period, which is an increase from the previous allowance of one request

Whilst  these new regulations are a step in the right direction for flexible working, there are still risks. These new regulations allow employees to apply for more flexible working arrangements, but there are no guarantees the request will be granted. To alleviate this risk, employers should be advertising their flexible working policies in the job advert they originally post, to eliminate the risk of hiring an employee who would later resign.

Redundancy Protection

As of the 6th April, the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 has come into effect. Under the previous law, employees on parental leave had special protection in a redundancy situation. This new law extends the protection to pregnant employees, and those who have recently returned from parental leave. The changes are as follows:

 Length of Protection
Pregnant Employee who takes maternity leaveStart: When employer has been notified of pregnancy   End: 18 months from the child’s date of birth (if the employer has been notified of the birth before the end of maternity leave), or 18 months from the expected week of birth (if the employer has not been notified)
Employee who has suffered a miscarriageStart: When the employer has been notified of pregnancy   End: Two weeks after the end of pregnancy for pregnancies ending before 24 weeks Note: Pregnancies ending after 24 weeks are classed as stillbirths, and the employee would be eligible for maternity leave  
Employees taking adoption leaveStart: Beginning of adoption leave   End: 18 months from the date of placement or date of entry into the country (if overseas adoption)
Employees taking shared parental leavceStart: Beginning of SPL   End: If less than 6 weeks of SPL is taken, this ends at the end of SPL. If more than six continuous weeks of SPL is taken, this ends 18 months from the child’s date of birth   Note: If an employee has taken maternity or adoption leave, the above periods would apply

It is important to note however, that this protection does not prevent employees eligible from being made redundant, but simply gives them priority for redeployment opportunities. If a protected employee is selected for redundancy, an employer must offer them a suitable alternative vacancy if available.

Paid Leave Allowances

There have also been a number of changes for employees taking other types of leave. Things such as paternity leave and carer’s leave have all been changed to allow more flexibility. Following these amendments, the changes to employee’s rights are:

  • Paternity leave
    • Previously, employees taking statutory paternity leave would have to take their two week allowance in one block- the updated allowance now says an employee can split their allowance in two separate one week blocks.
    • Employees can now take their two week’s leave at any time within the first year of a child’s birth, rather than only within the first eight weeks as previously.
    • Employer’s can now only ask for 28 days notice for each week of paternity, rather than the previous 15 week requirement (employees still have to give notice of their leave entitlement 15 weeks before the expected date of birth)
  • Carer’s leave
    • A new allowance has come into place that gives an employee caring for someone one week of unpaid leave a year
    • The employee must be caring for either a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or other dependant because of a disability, old age or illness that will require at least three months of care
    • This is available from the first day of employment, and doesn’t have a qualifying period

These new leave allowances mean employees have more flexibility around juggling their work and home life, and removes the stress employee’s commonly feel around major personal developments like having a child, or having to care for a loved one.

Other changes coming later this year

  • A new code of practice on dismissal and re-engagement of employees (‘fire and rehire’). This is expected to come into effect in summer 2024
  • A new law creating a right for workers and agency workers to request more predictable working patterns. This is expected to come into effect in September 2024.
  • A new law requiring employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. This is expected to come into effect in October 2024


These changes clearly show that, following the pandemic, flexibility has become an essential benefit offered by employers if they want to attract talent. Before COVID, flexible working was a luxury that few companies offered- while there where whispers of flexible working hours, hybrid working was something that didn’t really emerge until the pandemic began, and it looks like it’s here to stay! Businesses must remain competitive if they want to attract the best talent, so it’s important that you’re keeping up to date on such important legislative changes as these.

JasperRose are happy to advise our clients on what they can do to appeal to the candidates looking for jobs in 2024, and how your benefits packages can link with the changes mentioned in this article. Please contact us for more information.