2023 was a year in which we saw the rise of AI, a continued cost of living crisis, and the King’s coronation. We saw fewer HR changes, with many of the more significant pieces of legislation being moved to 2024.
Looking ahead to 2024
So, if the legislation goes ahead as planned, we are set for a far busier 2024 on the HR front. Not everything we outline below is set in stone.
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 make 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 to you.
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. The requirement to consult with elected representatives is 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.
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 cards. It will also be necessary for employers to have a written tip distribution policy. A statutory code of practice is currently being written.
Also, in 2024, a larger 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 hours (like zero-hour contracts) will gain a new right to request more certainty.
Written by Sue Tumelty, Founder and Executive Director of The HR Dept