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Employment Law changes in April

Posted 25/04/2024

New employment laws came into force on 6 April 2024 that apply to all businesses. Here is a brief summary of the changes.

Flexible working:

  • An employee now has a right to request flexible working from their first day of employment.
  • Previously, an employee could only make one request in a 12-month period, however this is now increased to two.
  • Employers must respond to a request within 2 months and provide an explanation and consultation if the request is refused.

Carer’s leave:

  • Previously, there were no leave rights for employees who are carers. Now, an unpaid leave entitlement exists from day one of employment.

Pregnancy and family leave:

  • Enhanced protection in a redundancy process is available to employees on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave. Under these laws, an employer must offer suitable alternative vacancy where one is available. This is sometimes called MAPLE protection.
  • From 6 April, this protection has been extended to cover an employee from the point they tell their employer they are pregnant.
  • MAPLE protection generally extends to 18 months after the birth of the child, but conditions apply to those who have taken shared parental leave without taking maternity or adoption leave.

Paternity leave:

  • There is now greater flexibility in how and when paternity leave is taken.
  • It can be taken at any time in the first year of the child’s life, and the weeks can now be split and taken at different times.

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