2024 will see a number of new Workers’ Rights Acts rolled out, chiefly flexible working arrangements, carers’ leave and a new duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment.
Announcing the package at the end of last year, in a message proclaiming it a ‘festive bonus’, the government says the measures will improve the lives of workers across the UK.
From 6 April, a new statutory unpaid leave entitlement for employees with caring responsibilities comes into force as part of the Carer’s Leave Act. Individuals will be able to take up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave in any 12-month period.
Also, in the same month, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act kicks in and will become a day one right for all workers including agency staff.
From 6 April, individuals will be able to take up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave. Photograph: iStock
In September, the Workers (predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is expected to come into force which introduces a new statutory right to request a more predicable working pattern. It will apply to workers whose existing working patterns lack certainty in terms of hours or times they work. It will also apply to agency workers.
October sees updated duties for employers to prevent sexual harassment in their workplaces. The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act will require employers to “take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees”.
The announcement states that: "These measures will improve the lives of hard-working families across Britain, aiding workers who have caring responsibilities or parents at risk of redundancy and ensuring everyone is able work as flexibly as needed."
However, the TUC pointed out that some of the ‘new’ rights date back some years – flexible working was pledged by the Conservatives in their 2019 manifesto – and that many fall short of what’s needed.
TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “Today’s reheated announcements are crumbs for working people compared to the full employment bill the Conservatives promised in their manifesto.
“These small changes do nothing to address the boom in insecure work and zero hours contracts which has taken place on the Tories’ watch.”
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