Navigating April 2024 UK Employment Law Changes: A Guide for Employers

We’re delighted to welcome our HR Partner, Marie Guest, who joins us to shed light on the recent changes to UK employment law.

Marie is a senior HR generalist and trainer with over 20 years’ experience across a range of sectors including beauty brands, FMCG, manufacturing and professional services.

Over to Marie…

Marie Guest, Founder & MD, The Headspace Bureau

On April 6 2024, significant changes to UK employment law came into effect, concerning flexible working, carers leave, and maternity/adoption leave redundancy protection.

In the ever-evolving landscape of employment law, staying up-to-date is crucial for both employers and employees.

In this blog, we’ll break down these changes and provide practical recommendations for employers to ensure compliance and nurturing a supportive work environment.

Flexible Working

Flexible working arrangements have gained momentum in recent years, and the pandemic accelerated this trend.

As of April 6, employees have gained a statutory right to request flexible working from day one of employment and can make two requests per year.

They are no longer required to provide ideas for how the company could accommodate the request and employers must conclude the process within two months of receiving a request.

This shift aims to promote work-life balance and adaptability, recognising the diverse needs of today’s employees.

Recommendations for Employers:

  1. Review policies: Ensure your company’s flexible working policy reflects the new statutory right. Update any outdated policies to align with the current legislation.
  2. Communication is key: Encourage open dialogue between managers and employees regarding flexible working arrangements. Establish clear channels for employees to express their needs and preferences.
  3. Training for managers: Provide training to managers on managing remote teams and flexible schedules effectively. Equip them with the skills to assess and accommodate requests fairly.

Carers Leave

Recognising the increasing role of carers in society, the statutory entitlement to unpaid carers leave has been extended.

Employees now have the right to take up to five days of unpaid carers leave per year (in full or half days) to care for dependents in emergencies.

Recommendations for Employers:

  1. Update policies: Revise your company’s leave policies to include provisions for carers leave. Clearly outline the eligibility criteria and the procedure for requesting and approving these types of requests.
  2. Flexibility & compassion: Demonstrate understanding and flexibility when employees request carers leave. Encourage a supportive workplace culture that values employees’ responsibilities outside of work.
  3. Awareness campaigns: Raise awareness among employees about their entitlement to carers leave. Provide information on how to access this leave and the support available to carers within the organisation.

Maternity/Adoption Leave Redundancy Protection

Another significant change relates to the redundancy protection for pregnant employees and those on adoption leave and the need for alternative roles to be offered to relevant individuals.

Previously, this protection ended when the employee returned to work. However, as of April 6, this protection now extends from the point the employee informs the employer of their pregnancy/adoption until six months after they return to work.

Recommendations for Employers:

  1. Document & communicate: Keep thorough records of all communications related to an employee’s maternity or adoption leave. Ensure managers are aware of the extended redundancy protection period and adhere to it strictly.
  2. Review redundancy policies: Review your company’s redundancy procedures to ensure compliance with the extended protection period. Ensure any redundancies made during this time can’t be deemed discriminatory or unfair.
  3. Support returning employees: Facilitate a smooth transition for employees returning from maternity or family leave. Offer additional support and flexibility to help them reintegrate into the team effectively.

In summary, staying abreast of employment law changes is essential for maintaining employee experience and avoiding risk of claims.

The April 6 amendments signal a positive shift towards greater flexibility and support for employees.

By updating policies, fostering open communication, and demonstrating empathy, employers can navigate these changes effectively while creating a productive environment for individuals, teams and the organisation to thrive.


Marie founded The Headspace Bureau in 2016 with a mission to create savvy yet simple HR and Training that propel clients forward. A fellow of the CIPD, with an MA in Personnel and Development, she is passionate about partnering with organisations to find that sweet spot between business goals and individual aspirations.

If you would like any support with understanding and implementing the changes in your business, you can contact The Headspace Bureau at [email protected]