Date set for new family-friendly regulations

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Several new family-friendly regulations, including the right to request flexible working from day one of employment, carer’s leave and extended redundancy protections for new parents, will come into effect on 6 April 2024 in England, Scotland and Wales.

The regulations include The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023, which remove the requirement for an employee to have 26 weeks’ service before they can make a formal flexible working request; The Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024, which extend the period of special protection from redundancy for employees who are on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave; and The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 (Commencement) Regulations 2023, which applies across the UK.

All the regulations were laid before Parliament yesterday (11 December).

Under the new parental leave regulations, the period protected from redundancy for those on maternity leave will include the entire pregnancy, as well as 18 months from the first day of the estimated week of childbirth (although the employee can change this to the exact date of birth if they inform their employer prior to the end of their maternity leave).

Adoptive parents will be protected from redundancy from 18 months from placement for adoption, and for shared parental leave the protected period will be 18 months from birth, provided the parent has taken at least six consecutive weeks of shared parental leave.

Under the carer’s leave regulations, employees who are unpaid carers for a relative or friend will receive up to five days’ unpaid leave from work each year.

Employees will need to give their employer notice of at least twice the length of time that needs to be taken off work, and they do not need to do so in writing.

Those taking carer’s leave will also be protected from dismissal or detriment as a result of having taken the leave.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “Next April, we’re expecting over 2 million employees to be entitled to the new rights contained in the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 – something that we’ve been working towards for a long time.

“Our most recent research with carers builds on our strong evidence base to show that this will make a significant difference to their lives – helping with some of the stresses which come when juggling work and care.

“I urge employers to get in touch and work with us to make the most of this new legislation – which is good for employers and good for employees alike.”

No date for the implementation of the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, which received Royal Assent earlier this year, has been set, although it is expected to come in on the same day as the day-one right to request flexible working. When enacted, this law will allow employees to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period.

 

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