Employment law changes are coming into effect this year — are you up to speed?

A number of changes are being made to employment law in 2024 and it’s important that you know what they are.

Did you know a raft of changes to employment law are coming into force this year?

Make sure you’re up to speed with this guidance from Golf HR’s Carolyne Wahlen, an expert in employment law.

1) Duty to prevent sexual harassment at work

From October 26 this year, employers will have to “take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment” of employees at work. The award against you at tribunal can be increased by 25 per cent if you are unable to prove you have taken steps to prevent sexual harassment.

Under prevention, you will need to make sure not only that your employees are trained, but also that the members of the golf club understand what they can and can’t do. Clubs will need to at the very least make sure the committee or board are trained to deal correctly with any membership disciplinaries that arise.

Prevention involves training and also dealing effectively with any issues that arise to show the whole membership that inappropriate behaviour will no longer be tolerated.

2) National minimum wage

Effective from April 1, the new hourly rates are as follows:

National living wage (21yrs + ): £11.44 per hour (from £10.42)

18- to 20-year-olds’ rate: £8.60 per hour (from £7.49)

16- to 17-year-olds’ rate: £6.40 per hour (from £5.28)

Apprentice rate: £6.40 per hour (from £5.28).

3) Rolled-up holiday pay for part-year workers and irregular-hours workers

Before October 2019, paying out holiday for zero hours/casual and part-year workers every month was allowed. It was calculated by multiplying their hours worked that month by 12.07 per cent to get the holiday hours to be paid at their normal rate of pay. This change means employers can legally go back to using that method.

The rolled-up part of this holiday pay is that they get paid their holiday every month, not when they take holiday. Rolled-up holiday pay had been illegal in the UK for many years, but has now been reintroduced for zero hours, casual and part-year workers.

The holiday does have to be clearly shown on the pay slip so that workers can see how much has been paid and when. You can use this holiday payment method now. For existing staff, please check their contracts to see if other provisions apply.

4) Flexible working

All employees will be able to request flexible working from their first day of employment. There will no longer be a 26-week qualifying period. There is a right to request, not to have. You now need to have a meeting with anyone making a request before you make any decisions. There are legitimate business reasons for you to reject the request.

5) Paternity leave

This can now be taken any time in the 52 weeks following the birth of the child.

6) Carer’s leave

From April 6, employees will be able to take up to one week of unpaid leave per year to provide or arrange care for a dependent with a long-term care need. The leave does not have to be taken all in one go and the minimum period to take is half a day. Similar to holidays, at least twice as much notice has to be given by the carer as they are requesting, subject to a minimum of three days. For example, if one week is requested, then at least two weeks’ notice must be given. Employers are able to postpone the leave for up to one month if their business will be unduly disrupted.

7) Redundancy and pregnancy/maternity

Again coming into effect from April 6, the existing regulations will extend so that if an employer is considering redundancies, steps should be taken to prioritise pregnant staff/those on maternity remaining in work before others, including suitable alternative roles.

8) Right to request a more predictable working pattern

From September, zero hours and casual workers will be able to request more predictable hours. Again, like flexible working, it is a right to request, not a right to have. However, if you have staff on zero hours who consistently work the same number of hours a week (and many golf clubs do), it will be almost impossible to refuse their request to transfer to a new contract guaranteeing those hours.

9) Parental bereavement leave

This can now be taken within 56 weeks of the death.

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By GCMA Content Team

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