Newsletter March 2024

Spring budget news

National insurance has been cut by 2p from 10% to 8% – having already fallen by 2p in last year’s Autumn Statement.

National Living Minimum Wage increases 

Quite a jump this time. From 1 April 2024, the national living wage (NLW) and national minimum wage (NMW) rates will be:

  • Age 21+: £11.44       (up from £10.42) *NLW
  • Age 18 to 20: £8.60  (up from £7.49)
  • Age 16 to 17: £6.40  (up from £5.28)
  • Apprentice: £6.40     (up from £5.28) *under 19 or aged 19+ and in first year of apprenticeship

Note – the minimum age for NLW has now officially reduced to 21 years

What you need to do:

  • Check if these effect anyone on your payroll and where necessary implement pay increases to keep in line with/above the new NMW.
  • If your team’s pay is higher than NMW – still review salaries and decide with the new minimums if your rate is competitive enough to retain your people and help to them feel valued.
  • Communicate in writing pay increases to each individual – Mint can help with these

Flexible working – now a Day One right

As of 6th April 2024, The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, comes into effect. This means your employees:

  • Can request flexible working arrangements from Day One of employment
  • Can make two statutory requests in any 12-month period (rather than the current one)
  • Must be consulted with to explore the available options before employer can reject a request
  • Are no longer required to explain what effect, if any, the requested change would have on the business and how that effect might be dealt with

And finally, you must now reach a decision in respect of a flexible working request within a two month period (was previously three).

What you need to do:

  • Update your policies and handbook – if you’re a client, Mint will do this for you.
  • Train your managers about the impact of these changes
  • Communicate changes to your team

Statutory sick pay and other types of leave to increase

From the 1st April 2024, Statutory sick pay (SSP) will go up to £116.75 from the current rate of £109.40 with lower earnings limit remaining at £123 per week.

The weekly rate of statutory maternity pay – and pay for other types of leave – will increase to £184.03 (from £172.48). The other types of leave include:

  • Share parental pay (ShPP)
  • Maternity pay (SMP)
  • Paternity Pay (SPP)
  • Adoption Pay (SAP)
  • Parental bereavement pay (SPBP)

What you need to do: 

  • Ensure your payroll team are aware of these increases

Paternity Leave now more flexible

Currently, eligible employees (fathers and partners) can take either one week or two consecutive weeks of paid Paternity Leave in the 56 days after their child’s birth (or adoption placement).
However, as of 6th April 2024, Paternity Leave:

  • Can now be taken at any point in the first year after their child’s birth
  • Can be taken as two separate one-week blocks if they wish (rather than in a single block of one or two weeks)
  • Intention to take leave can be given with 28 days notice (as opposed to at least 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth (EWC).

What you need to do: 

  • Update your policies and Handbook – if you’re a client, Mint will do this for you
  • Train your managers on these changes
  • Communicate changes to your Team
  • Check if an employee wishes to vary the paternity leave dates they’d previously notified you of (applicable for parents of children who are born/adopted on or after 6th April 2024)

Longer redundancy protection for maternity 

As of 6th April 2024, the redundancy protection period for employees on maternity, adoption and shared parental leave has been extended.
The period of pregnancy protected will now be from the date on which your employee informs you they are pregnant.
The protected period will end 18 months following the date of the child’s birth.
The protection means the employee has the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy if one exists and are protected against unfair treatment, unfair dismissal and discrimination because of pregnancy, childbirth and maternity.

What you need to do: 

  • If considering redundancies, bear in mind the above changes and seek HR assistance if unsure

One week unpaid leave for carers

From 6 April 2024, employees will be entitled to one week’s unpaid leave to give or arrange care for a ‘dependant’ who has:

  • a physical or mental illness or injury that means they’re expected to need care for more than 3 months
  • a disability (as defined in the Equality Act 2010)
  • care needs because of their old age

The dependant does not have to be a family member. It can be anyone who relies on them for care.

This right will apply from day one of employment and employees will not be required to provide any evidence of their caring responsibilities.

The leave can be taken as either full days or half days and up to a block of one week in a rolling 12 month period. Employers cannot prevent employees from taking the leave, although they can postpone it for up to one month if there is a strong business case for doing so.

What you need to do: 

  • Update your policies and handbook – if you’re a client, Mint will do this for you
  • Inform your managers about this change
  • Communicate changes to your Team
  • Consider whether to enhance the pay provided during carer’s leave – though there’s no legal obligation to do so

Holiday changes incoming…

Reversal on irregular hours holiday calcs

So, after all the unrest of how to calculate holiday pay for those with irregular hours (if you’ve missed this – where have you been?), the rules have been reversed – what a relief!

It used to be that for anyone working irregular hours you could calculate 12.07% of their regular pay (regular includes things such as overtime, commission – the word regular is the key here) and add that onto their pay.  This was scrapped in place for looking back at the previous 52 weeks worked (so many nuances to even this part which we can’t face recounting).  Well now there’s been a total turnaround and the 12.07% calculation has been reintroduced.

This comes back into effect on 1st April 2024 so for anyone with a holiday year that started before then – the majority of our clients have a 1st January holiday year – you will have to wait until 2025 to change.

Changes to holiday carryover

Carry over permissions are also changing. Anyone can now carry over the full statutory amount (28 days for a full time workers) in the following circumstances:

  • Where the employer refuses to pay for holiday pay entitlement.
  • If the employer fails to provide reasonable opportunity for the employee to take their leave.
  • If the employer fails to inform the employee that if they don’t take their leave, they will lose it.
  • If the employee is absent due to sickness or maternity or family related leave (as before)

Rounding up/down of holiday pay 

The new rules state that where the amount of annual leave accrued in a particular case includes a fraction of an hour, the fraction of the hour is to be treated as zero if it is less than 30 minutes, and one hour if the fraction equates to 30 minutes or more.

Mint Clients – We will be sending you a separate email in relation to these three holiday changes as it’s so important to get it right and we need to be even more proactive in ensuring everyone takes leave.

If you’re not a client and want to receive support on this please do not hesitate to contact us.

Coming up in 2024…

We don’t want to overload you with more information this month, but there’s lots of other changes earmarked for later in the year, including: changes to auto-enrolment pension, non-compete clauses, TUPE for small businesses, zero-hour/casual workers’ hours, Neonatal care leave and sexual harassment in the workplace.

More details will follow in future newsletters as Mint HR’s fingers remain firmly on the pulse. And of course, we will make sure our clients are informed as and when the implementation dates are confirmed.

Contact Mint Outsourced HR in Yorkshire

From Onboarding in Huddersfield to Employee Handbooks in Hull or Grievances in Sheffield to Mediation in Manchester, nowhere is too far for the team at Mint HR.


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