Article
December 7th, 2023

Key Legislation Changes in 2024 with Confirmed Implementation Dates

Visa / Immigration Changes:

Activities list expanded for Business Visitor Visa

From 31st January, those with a Business Visitor Visa will now be allowed to partake in additional work related activities including liaising directly with clients. These include:

  • Advising & Consulting
  • Trouble-shooting
  • Providing training
  • Sharing skills & knowledge;

on a specific internal project with UK employees of the same corporate group.

Employees can now also work remotely under the new rules as long as it is directly related to their overseas employment and provided this is not the sole purpose of the visit.

Increase in Visa costs

The cost of employing an immigrant worker increased on 4 October 2023. The Certificate of Sponsorship assignment fee and Global Business Mobility applications will rise by 20%, from £199 to £239.  The cost of the following visa applications will also rise by 15%:

  • Skilled Worker
  • Global Business Mobility
  • Global Talent
  • Graduate
  • Innovator Founder
  • Start-up
  • High Potential Individual.

 

Proposed increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (HIS) – proposed date 16th January 2024

At present the Immigration Health Surcharge standard fee for applicants over the age of 18 is £624 per year. This figure will increase to £1035. Dependent children under the age of 18, students and their dependants and Youth Mobility applicants are currently charged £470 per year. This will increase to £776.

 

Fines for employing illegal foreign workers will rise – January 2024

Fines are to be more than tripled for employers who allow illegal migrants work for them. The civil penalty for employers will raise to up to £45000 per illegal worker, for the first breach from £15000 and up to £60000 for repeat breaches, from £20000.

What should you be checking? Companies should check eligibility to work in the UK for all employees (if you haven’t already done so) and every new starter.

 

National Living/Minimum Wage increase and National Insurance rates cut – Update

The UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has delivered his Autumn Statement 2023. Within the measures, people professionals will need to be aware of the following:

Minimum Wage

For people aged over 21, the National Minimum (Living) Wage will rise from £10.42 to £11.44

For people aged 18-20 the National Minimum (Living) Wage will rise from £7.49 to £8.60

For people aged 16-17 and apprentices, the National Minimum (Living) Wage will increase from £5.28 to £6.40

All changes will be effective from 5 April 2024.

National Insurance

National insurance will be cut by 2% (from 12%) for those earning between £12,570 and £50.270. Self-employed workers will pay 9%.

Class 2 National Insurance for the self-employed will be abolished.

The cut will be effective from 6 January 2024.

 

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act – 6th April 2024

The Bill aims to provide protection from redundancy during or after pregnancy, or after periods of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

The new bill proposes to extend redundancy protection to cover pregnant employees from when they tell the employer they are pregnant, until 18 months after the birth. The 18-month window ensures that a mother returning from a year of maternity leave can receive six months’ additional redundancy protection. It will also apply to adoption leave and shared parental leave.

What does this mean for your business? Many employers have now started to implement enhanced family leave policies.

 

Flexible working changes The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill – possible Summer 2024

Under the Act employees will be able to make two flexible working requests within a 12-month period, employers must consult with the employee before rejecting their flexible working request and a decision must be delivered within a two-month period.  Employees will not be required to wait for 26 weeks continuous service to make a request, it will become a day 1 right, and they will not be required to justify how their request will negatively affect the business.

What does this mean for your business? We recommend you review any flexible working polices already in place, if you don’t currently have one, you may want to think about implementing one across your business.

 

The Carer’s Leave Act – possible April 2024

Received Royal Assent in May 2023.

The Act makes provision for unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities and was introduced in June 2022. This leave is a day-one right, available to all employees without any qualifying period. It applies to anyone caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or other dependent who needs care because of a disability, old age or any illness or injury likely to require at least three months of care. This leave is unpaid. The maximum duration of the leave and how it can be taken would be set by regulations, although the Act would allow at least up to one week per year.

What this means for your business? Many companies are reviewing their current provision for leave, as a whole, providing enhanced pay in some or many of the leave types.

 

Legislation changes which have been confirmed with approximate dates for implementation:

Allocations of tips – May 2024

Received Royal assent.

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 creates a new legal obligation for employers to fairly allocate tips over which they exercise control, or significantly influence. These tips should be paid to workers in full within a month of the payment being made.

Employers will also be obliged to produce a written policy on tip allocation (in situations where tips are paid on more than an occasional basis) and to maintain records of tip allocations for three years.

What this means for your business? You should check if you have a written policy on top allocation and check how you tips are currently paid to staff.

 

Taking reasonable steps to eliminate harassment in the workplace The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill – October 2024

The act introduces a duty on employers to try to stop the sexual harassment of their employees by third parties.

For the first time it will mean that:

  • employers must demonstrate that they take reasonable steps to prevent the sexual harassment of their employees
  • employment tribunals will have the power to uplift sexual harassment compensation by up to 25%, where an employer is found to have breached the new duty to prevent sexual harassment.

What this means for your business? We are recommending business consider their current provision for the prevention of sexual harassment of their employees; practically this may include year bullying and harassment training for you workforce, which we of course provide.

 

Holiday calculations

Earlier in November 2023, the Department of Business and Trade published its responses to its consultation which ran earlier this year.

This has confirmed that the government won’t proceed with the proposals to introduce a 52 week entitlement reference period.  Instead entitlement will be calculated as 12.07% of hours worked in a pay period for irregular hours / part-year workers only.

Plus rolled-up holiday pay will be allowed, but for irregular hours / part-year workers only.

What this means for your Company? Although we await the details of the regulations, if you employ people on irregular or part year works you can pay 12.07% in rolled up holiday.

 

Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 – by April 2025

Received Royal Assent in May 2023.

The Act allows eligible employees whose new-born baby is admitted to neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave (payment likely to be capped in line with statutory maternity, and leave to be taken within a restricted timeframe), in addition to the right to take other leave such as maternity or paternity leave. Parents will also have enhanced protections against dismissal etc.

What does this mean for your business? Although this will not be introduced in law until 2025; employers are making amendments and additions to their family leave polices now.

 

Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 – 31 December 2023

Received Royal Assent in June 2023.

This gives government ministers new powers to reform EU-based laws. This applies to any EU-based law introduced into UK law by a statutory instrument (e.g. the Working Time Regulations 1998). It does not apply to EU-based laws that have been signed into law by an act of Parliament (e.g. the Equality Act 2010).

This will end the supremacy of EU law on 31 December 2023, and removes all directly effective EU rights on that date too.

What does this mean for your business? There’s no change to existing employment law immediately. Retained EU employment laws are all still in place. UK employment laws still need to be interpreted in line with EU requirements, and EU law still reigns supreme.  However, we need to monitor future divergence from EU laws!

 

Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions Act 2010) Bill – Autumn 2024

Received Royal Assent

When in force this will give all workers the right to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service, and be compensated for shifts cancelled at short notice.

What does this mean for you business? If you have employees working unpredictable working patterns, they will have a right to request more predictable and stable patterns.  Reach out to us if you receive a request and we can provide you with support and guidance.

 

Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) Act 2023

Received Royal Assent September 2023

Once implemented, this will lower the age at which eligible workers must be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme by their employer from 22 to 18. Consultation on implementing the new measures will begin in due course.

What does this mean for your business? Before this is implemented, you will need to review details of your employees and ensure that all those who qualify are placed into the pension scheme.