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Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.
Changes to paternity leave laws
Regulations have been laid before Parliament to change existing paternity leave legislation from 6 April 2024.
If approved, there will be increased flexibility in how paternity leave can be used. Currently, eligible employees are entitled to take paternity leave in a single block of one or two weeks. And, if they only take one week, they lose the second.
At present, leave must be taken within the first 56 days after a child’s birth or adoption. The employee must notify their employer of their leave dates no later than 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth or within 7 days of being matched with a child.
Under new regulations, employees will be allowed to:
- Split their leave and take it in two non-consecutive one-week blocks
- Take their leave at any time in the first year after the birth or adoption of their child
- They’ll be required to give 15 weeks’ notice of entitlement to their employers and the notice period for leave dates will be cut to 28 days
Want to know more about paternity rules and pay? Ask BrightLightning: Do I have to give paternity pay?
Updated Code of Practice on flexible working requests
In July 2023, Acas launched a consultation seeking views on the updated statutory Code of Practice on handling requests for flexible working.
Subject to parliamentary approval, the day-one right to request flexible working will come into force on 6 April 2024.
Additional reforms to flexible working requests are expected to come into force at the same time. But this is yet to be confirmed. Acas has now published the final version of the Code ahead of new legal changes.
The new Code is more detailed and contains a foreword describing the benefits of flexible working, and the advantages of consulting with employees.
- Do I have to follow the Acas Code of Practice?
- Who can make a flexible working request?
- What is the process for managing a flexible working request?
NEW rail strike dates
The train drivers’ union Aslef has announced more strikes will begin on Tuesday 30 January and last until Monday 5 February.
There will also be an overtime ban from 29 January to 6 February.
These strikes may be subject to minimum service levels after the government enacted new legislation for rail, ambulances, and border security. But we’ll have to wait to see whether the individual train companies choose to issue work notices.
When train companies strike it can cause a domino effect on employee lateness. Get your business back on track with expert advice from BrightLightning.
- How do I deal with employee lateness caused by a train strike?
- What can I do to prevent my employees being late for work because of the train strikes?
Or, for a more permanent solution to employee lateness, discover Blip—our timesaving, time-tracking app.
Real living wage for BrewDog employees? Fur-get it!
BrewDog has barktracked on paying employees the real living wage. They made a staff announcement in a letter stating they’ll no longer be paying the real living wage.
Instead, employees will receive the national minimum living wage rates. The firm stated this was necessary as part of an effort to return to profitability after making a £24m operating loss last year.
The real living wage is voluntary, and the rates are set to increase from £10.90 to £12 an hour, or from £11.95 to £13.15 an hour in London.
Employers who voluntarily pay their employees the real living wage will have until 1 May 2024 to implement the new rate.
Ask BrightLightning: What’s the difference between the real living wage and the national living wage?
And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!