Forthcoming changes to legislation involving employees and families

 In News Feed

Racing Home has published an article highlighting a number of changes coming into force this year regarding legislation that will affect families and employees.

  • Statutory Paternity Leave Change
  • Flexible Working Requests Change
  • Carers Leave – New
  • Sexual Harassment Protection
  • Extended Redundancy Protection
  • National Minimum Wage Increases

Statutory Paternity Leave Change

From 6 April 2024, partners will be able to take statutory paternity leave within the first year after childbirth (rather than the first 8 weeks) and will have the option to take the leave in two non-consecutive week blocks, as opposed to the current requirement to take it as either one week or two consecutive weeks. Similar rights will be in place for those who adopt.

There is also a shortened 28-day notice period to notify employers about the intention to take statutory paternity leave.

Flexible Working Requests Change

From 6 April 2024, key changes will be introduced to flexible working laws including:

  • A new legal duty to consult with employees about alternatives to their flexible working request.
  • Employees will no longer be required to set out how their request would impact the business.
  • Two requests can be made in any 12-month period, increased from one currently.
  • Employers will now be required to respond to requests within two months (currently three).
  • Acas has also published a new Code of Practice on flexible working requests.

Carers Leave – New

From 6 April 2024 employees will have a new legal entitlement to take up to one week’s unpaid leave per year to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need. This will apply to all employees from the start of their employment.

Sexual Harassment Protection

An important new protection surrounding the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace is coming into force. From October 2024, employers must be more proactive in their efforts to reduce workplace sexual harassment and will be subject to a new legal requirement to take “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment of employees and workers.

A failure to take reasonable steps can lead to compensation awarded by an Employment Tribunal for sexual harassment claims being increased by up to 25%.

A new Code of Practice will be issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission providing guidance on the steps which employers are advised to take.

Extended Redundancy Protection

From 6 April 2024, redundancy protections will be extended for those on maternity, adoption and shared parental leave. Employees will be entitled to suitable alternative employment in a redundancy situation, in preference to other employees at risk, not just during pregnancy, but for 18 months after the expected week of childbirth (so for up to 6 months following their return to work if they take the maximum 12 months maternity leave). Similar protections are in place for those on adoption leave and shared parental leave.

National Minimum Wage Increases

From 1 April 2024, there will be 9.8% increase to the National Living Wage (NLW) for those aged 21 and over to £11.44 an hour from April 2024. The NLW is currently the statutory minimum wage for workers aged 23 and over, although this threshold will be reduced to those aged 21 and over from April 2024.

Different minimum wage rates will continue to apply to 18–20-year-olds (£8.60), as well as 16-17 years old and apprentices aged under 19 or in the first year of an apprenticeship (£6.40).

Visit for more information about the rights and entitlements of working parents and families in the racing industry.

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