Employment law changes for April 2024 – further details

Wake Smith Solicitors 29 January 2024

April always sees legislative updates for the new business year with several covering employment law.

Changes include increased redundancy protection for pregnant women and maternity leave returners; greater protection against sexual harassment and help for carers and neonatal parents.

Nazia Kausar, solicitor in the employment team at Wake Smith Solicitors takes a further look at the forthcoming changes and how these will affect employers and employees, in part two of two articles.


6 April – Extending priority status for redeployment in a redundancy situation for pregnant women and employees returning from maternity, adoption and/or shared parental leave.

The current rules provide that employees on maternity leave should be given priority status for redeployment in a redundancy situation.

However, from 6 April 2024, this protection will also be extended to cover both pregnancy and a period known as the "additional protected period":

  • Pregnancy – priority status in redeployment will start when an employee tells their employer about their pregnancy. If the employee is entitled to statutory maternity leave, the protected period of pregnancy will end on the day the statutory maternity leave starts. If the pregnancy ends and they are not entitled to statutory maternity leave, the protected period ends two weeks after the end of pregnancy.
  • Maternity leave - The additional protected period will end 18 months after the expected week of childbirth, unless the employee has informed the employer of the date of their child's birth, in which case the additional protected period will end 18 months after that date.
  • Adoption leave - The additional protected period ends 18 months after the child's placement or the date they enter Great Britain (in the case of overseas adoptions).
  • Shared parental leave - For those taking six or more consecutive weeks of shared parental leave but who have not taken maternity or adoption leave, the additional protected period ends 18 months after the date of the child's birth or placement (or date they enter Great Britain).

Where the protected period covers pregnancy, the new rules will apply where the employee notifies their employer of their pregnancy on or after 6 April 2024.

Where it relates to a period after relevant leave, the new rules will apply to maternity and adoption leave ending on or after 6 April 2024. In the case of Shared Parental leave when an employee had taken the priority status in redeployment will apply when leave is starting on or after 6 April 2024.

New duty to prevent sexual harassment

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 has received royal assent and will come into force on the 26 October 2024.

The Act introduces a duty on employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent employees from sexual harassment “in the course of their employment”. (This latter part of the Act reflects the commitments made by the Government in its response to the 2019 consultation on workplace sexual harassment).

The duty will be enforced by Employment Tribunals who will be allowed to apply an uplift of up to 25% to an employees’ compensation in sexual harassment cases where the employer has failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent this.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will produce a statutory code of practice to provide guidance to employers to help them understand the sort of steps they need to take to meet the new duty.

Employers should remember that Employment Tribunals will expect an employer to show they took all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment by:

  • having a policy (usually in their Staff Handbook)
  • providing training
  • taking steps to deal effectively with complaints, and
  • where there is proven sexual harassment as a result of a grievance, taking appropriate disciplinary action against the employee(s) who perpetrated the sexual harassment.

Neonatal leave and pay

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill will entitle parents to each take up to 12 weeks of leave, with statutory Neonatal Care Pay in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave, to spend more time with their baby who, having been born prematurely or sick, is receiving intensive care.

Neonatal leave will be a day one right and give parents protection from dismissal or detriment. The estimated time for the implementation around April 2025.

Leave for unpaid carers

The Government has introduced the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, which will give employees with care obligations a minimum of one week’s unpaid carer’s leave per year.

Once implemented (April 2024), this unpaid leave will be available as a day one right as well as giving those who exercise the right protections from dismissal or detrimental treatment.


May 24 - Tipping, gratuities, cover and service charges

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023, will require that employers allocate all qualifying tips between workers with no deductions (other than those which are required by tax law).

Employers will also be required to have a written policy explaining how their tips will be allocated.

This is to ensure that tips are distributed in accordance with a new statutory Code of Practice on Tipping.

Employers will be expected to retain receipt and allocation records – and to share those records on request. The Act comes into force in 1 July 2024.

Dismissal and re-engagement, fire and rehire

In the wake of the mass redundancies at P&O Ferries in March 2022, which occurred without notice or consultation, the Government announced that it would introduce a new Statutory Code of Practice on ‘fire and rehire’ practices.

The draft Statutory Code of Practice requires employers to hold ‘fair, transparent and meaningful consultations’ with employees where changes are proposed for employment terms and conditions.

The final version of the code is expected to be published in Spring 2024.

Further advice

If you require any advice on the matters discussed in this article, please give our employment team a call on 0114 266 6660, or click the 'contact us' button below.

Link to part one article.

If you would like to sign up for the webinars programme please click here 

Find out more about our Employment Law services



March 20241February 20242January 20248December 20236November 20232October 20235September 20232August 20234July 20232June 20235May 20238March 20234February 20235January 20233December 20225November 20224October 20224September 20223August 20221June 20221May 20227April 20223March 20223February 20223January 20224December 20214November 20213October 20215September 20216August 20212July 202111June 20218May 20216April 20212March 20218February 20218January 20219December 20208November 202013October 20209September 20208August 20203July 20208June 202016May 202013April 20209March 202016February 20209January 202011December 20199November 20199October 201911September 20195August 20194July 20196May 20198April 20196March 20193February 20195January 20194December 20186November 20185October 20182September 20185August 20184July 20189June 20184May 201810April 20185March 20184February 20184January 20183December 20175November 20178October 20177September 20179August 20175July 20176June 201710May 20176April 20178March 201711February 20176January 201712December 20169November 20167October 201610September 201610August 20166July 20167June 20163May 20162April 20166March 20162February 20164January 20165December 20153November 20155October 20156September 20156August 20157July 20157June 20157May 20156April 20159March 20156February 201510January 20156December 20145November 20144October 20142September 20143May 20144March 20146February 20144January 20142December 20132November 20133September 20134July 20132June 20132May 20133April 20131March 20133February 20133January 20136December 20121November 20123October 20122August 20122July 20128June 20123April 20123March 20121January 20124December 20112November 20111October 20112September 20113August 20113July 20117June 20119May 20117April 20115March 20119February 20118January 20111December 20101October 20102September 20102August 20103July 20106June 20101May 20102April 20106March 20102February 20103January 20102December 20095November 20092October 20092September 20092August 20091July 20095June 20095May 20093April 20093March 20093February 20091January 20092November 20082October 20082September 20081August 20083July 20081January 20082

Featured Articles

Contact us