Hot Topics ATTENTION: Critical UK Employment Legislation Changes Impacting You from April 2024.

By Kimberly Bradshaw (CEO, Spotlight HR.)

April 2024.

We have picked the 8 most important April 2024 Employment Law changes for SME businesses, highlighting those that require your immediate attention to keep you compliant and others to be mindful of.

April is always an energetic month in the Spotlight HR headquarters, as it’s when new employment legislation comes into play and procedural changes to our clients’ HR systems and handbooks need updating—it’s part of the big annual HR spring clean taking place in businesses across the UK.

Some big changes are certainly coming into effect this month. To help you, we have highlighted where immediate action is advisable below. As always, though, please reach out if you need clarification. Let’s chat.

The 8 Biggest Employment Law Changes for SMEs, April 2024

While we have been keeping you updated on these changes throughout the year, they are now upon us! So, we felt a special overview would be helpful this month. We picked these seven to take a closer look at:

  • Employment Rights (Flexible Working)
  • Carer’s Leave Rights
  • Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave)
  • National Minimum Wage Increases
  • Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes
  • Increase In Tribunal Compensation Limits
  • Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes
  • National Insurance Contribution Cuts
  • Holiday Calculations
  • Paternity Leave

Below, you can review these new employment legislations in more detail and evaluate their impact on both your employees and you.

New flexible working laws

Millions of employees across the UK have access to increased freedom in their work arrangements. They can request flexible working arrangements from day one of their employment, spanning part-time, term-time, flexitime, compressed hours, and varied locations. The onus has shifted greatly in their favour, and as a result, employers must now:

  • Previous requirement of 26 weeks’ continuous service before a request could be made is now removed. Requests can be made form day one of employment.
  • Respond to requests within two months, down from the previous three.
  • Accept up to two statutory requests for flexible working per year.
  • Employers will not be able to refuse a request until they have consulted with the employee and reviewed alternatives to the request.

ACTION REQUIRED: Amendments to your employee handbook’s content are now required to reflect these legislation changes.

At Spotlight HR, we keep these annual handbook amendment fees minimal.

If you need any advice or a handbook review and update, please do get in touch. Let’s chat.

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023

This requires employers to offer unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities from day one of employment. This extends to caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, or other dependant with a disability, old age, or illness.

  • Unpaid leave for carers available from day one of employment.
  • Extending to include the care for a spouse, civil partner, parent, or dependant.
  • Introduction of a statutory scheme now enables employees to apply for one week of unpaid leave per year to care for someone who is dependent upon them.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your employee handbook needs updating to reflect these legislation changes. If you need any advice or a handbook review and update, please do get in touch. It’s important to know that despite this amendment, employers can postpone leave if it would unduly disrupt business operations.

We are happy to advise you on these legalities if this impacts your workplace. Let’s chat.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023

Extended protection for pregnant employees and those returning from maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave is now in place for redundancy situations. The key change you need to be aware of is:

  • Pregnant employees notifying their employer before maternity leave ends are now protected from redundancy for 18 months from the child’s birth or adoption.

ACTION REQUIRED: You need to update your employee handbook to reflect this legislation. At Spotlight HR, we keep these annual handbook amendment fees minimal. Let’s chat.

National minimum wage increases

From April 1, 2024, the National Minimum Wage increases by up  9.8% for adults. In a cost-of-living crisis, this is a welcome increase for employees—while in the same breath, it is another harsh financial knock for struggling SME businesses.

  • Increase from £10.42 to £11.44 for the national living wage.
  • Lower age requirement: now, this applies to employees aged 21 and over, as opposed to the previous threshold of 23 and over.
  • Find more information on other age threshold amounts here: National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates – GOV.UK (


5.    Increase In Tribunal Compensation Limits

April 6th sees legal changes and statutory rate hikes, including increases in employment tribunal compensation limits. Here are the pointers you need to be aware of:

  • Basic award cap rises to £700, affecting unfair dismissal and statutory weekly redundancy payments.
  • Compensatory award maximum increases to £115,115 for unfair dismissal claims.
  • Adjustments will only apply to events after April 6, with previous limits remaining for earlier cases.

National Insurance contributions

 Following the reduction from 6 January2024, this is a further reduction in the NI contribution rates This means most employees will pay less in National Insurance from April 6, which is much-needed good news for everyone.

  • National insurance contributions are cut from 10% to 8% on earnings of between £12,570 and £50,270 a year.
  • Earnings below £12,750 will pay no NI, with the 2% NI on earnings over £50,270 remaining unaltered.
  • Income tax and National Insurance thresholds remain frozen until 2028.

Holiday calculations

For leave years starting on or after April 1st 2024 the method of calculating holiday entitlement for irregular hours workers and part-year workers will be based on 12.07% of the hours worked in the previous pay period. This law change reverses a previous decision of the Supreme Court which effectively outlawed the use of the 12.07% formula.

Rolled up holiday will be permitted for irregular hours and part-year workers reversing a previous decision.

ACTION REQUIRED:  You should review your holiday processes and policies.  This will require amending handbooks and notifying employees of the change in the law.

Paternity Leave

  • Fathers and partners may now take their leave in non-consecutive blocks as opposed to previously having to take their leave in blocks of one or two weeks.
  • Fathers and partners may now take their leave and pay at any point in the first year after the birth or adoption of their child
  • Employees will only need to give 28 days’ notice of their intention to take paternity leave.

ACTION REQUIRED: You should review your existing Paternity Leave policy.

In Summary: These eight legislative changes certainly show the likely direction of UK employment law in the coming years, with an increasing focus on employee rights. The CIPD’s Manifesto for Good Work calls for more comprehensive employment legislation, including a new single enforcement body to enhance worker protection and employer compliance. We will, of course, keep you posted.

If any of the legislation detailed above has raised questions or uncertainties, remember that we offer FREE initial advice—which, in many cases, is enough to resolve issues.

For those of you now requiring Employee Handbook guidance and updates, we are ready to help.  Let’s chat.


At Spotlight HR, we are strategic partners to many local businesses across East Sussex. From individual outsourced projects to assisting your in-house function, our experienced team specialises in HR services for SMEs—book a FREE consultation.