Important Changes in Employment Law Legislation – Part 1

As we move into Spring, many of the employment law legislative changes that the Government announced last year will come into effect. Others will follow later in the year.  Employers are, of course, legally obliged to comply with the new legislation. However, employers that take a more proactive approach by updating policies and ensuring the changes are communicated to staff are likely to present as more organised and professional than those that take a reactive approach to the new legislation. In sectors with recruitment and retention challenges, a proactive approach could give employers the edge they need to attract and keep the best talent.

Hannah Roche, Head of Employment Law and Holistic HR at MBM Commercial, summarises the changes below.

Holiday entitlement changes (1 January 2024)

 Various changes have been made to the Working Time Regulations 1998, via new Regulations, which have the following effect:

  • the requirement to keep records of employee hours has been relaxed to the effect that the employer does not necessarily need to keep a full record of all daily working hours but simply needs to maintain “adequate” records.
  • reinstatement of previous EU case law to confirm that carry-over of holidays from one leave year to the next must be allowed in certain situations such as the employee’s inability to take holidays due to illness or family leave.
  • providing a method of holiday accrual for irregular-hours and part-year workers (which may include some agency workers), based on 12.07% of the hours worked in the previous pay period. For workers on sick leave or other family-related leave, accrual will be based on average working hours over a 52-week reference period (for leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024).
  • Permitting rolled-up holiday pay for irregular-hours and part-year workers (for leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024).

Increases to national living wage (1 April 2024)

 Starting on 1 April 2024, the largest ever cash increase to the national minimum wage will apply. The national minimum wage for anyone over 21 will be increased to £11.44 per hour. People between 18-20 are entitled to £8.60 per hour and 16-17 year olds as well as apprentices will be entitled to £6.40 per hour. This is the first time that the minimum wage has been increased by over £1 per hour.

Carer’s leave (6 April 2024)

One of the most anticipated changes to employment law is the Carer’s Leave Act which will come into force on 6 April 2024.

This legislation will provide employees caring for dependents with long-term needs with an entitlement to one week of unpaid leave annually.

The key features of carer’s leave are:

  • a dependent can be a spouse, civil partner, child or parent who lives with the employee or relies on them to arrange for care;
  • qualifying care responsibilities are those relating to a disability, old age, or an illness or injury lasting for more than 3 months;
  • there is no need for documentation beyond self-certification and there is no minimum service requirement for eligibility;
  • requests can be for consecutive or non-consecutive half-days or full-days;
  • the employee must give the employer three days’ notice of the leave they are requesting, or twice the amount of notice as the period of leave, whichever is longer;
  • there is scope for the employer to postpone the leave if it would be unduly disruptive to business operations. In this case, the employer must give notice of the postponement before the leave is due to begin, and allow the leave to be taken within one month of the start date of the leave originally requested;
  • if the employer subjects the employee to detriment or dismisses them because of taking or seeking to take the leave (or believing that they are likely to do so), this will be a breach of the legislation, and the employer will leave itself exposed to legal claims.

It is recommended that employers create a Carer’s Leave Policy and communicate it to employees, or add a section to existing family leave policies to deal with carer’s leave.


If you are an employer and you’d like to discuss these changes and the steps your organisation should make to prepare for them, please contact the employment team at