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This article is written by our partners at Law Express.

It is the first in a series of articles focusing on recent changes to employment law.

On 6th April 2024, new legislation came into force that will affect employees rights to time off in relation to paternity leave and to take carers leave to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long term care need.

In addition to this, flexible working rights have changed. For more information, please see below.

Paternity leave

The entitlement to paternity leave remains at either one or two weeks (with the employee being able to choose how much they wish to take) however, it can now be taken in non-consecutive blocks within twelve months of the birth of the child. The notice period an employee needs to give to take leave is now four weeks instead of the previous eight weeks. The statutory entitlement for paternity leave remains the same as statutory maternity leave, at £184.03 (from 7th April 2024) per week.

Statutory carers leave

Employees now have a right to request statutory carers leave. There is no minimum period of service required for an employee to raise a request. The entitlement is to one week of unpaid leave in a twelve-month rolling period. It can be taken as a continuous week, individual days or half days.

An employer must be given at least three-day notice if the employee is requesting 0.5 – 1 days leave. Where the leave request is for longer than one day, the employee must give twice as much notice as the time off they wish to take.

An employer is unable to refuse the request but can ask the employee to take the leave at a different time if the absence would cause serious disruption to the business. For more information, please see here.

An employee cannot be asked for evidence of the dependant’s care needs.

Flexible working

Changes mean that employees can now raise a flexible working request without any minimum period of service. Employees are able to raise two requests in any twelve-month period and once a request is raised, you must consult with the employee and respond to their request within two months. The statutory grounds for refusing a flexible working request remain the same.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.