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Education Digest Spring term – Key Employment Law changes in the Education sector

2024 sees a raft of new employment legislation in addition to the usual increase to the minimum wage

The most significant changes, together with some recent and prospective ones are set out below.


The Key Changes

19 February - Fire & re-hire

ACAS published a draft code of practice on dismissal and re-engagement.

21 February - Discrimination

The Equality and Human Rights Commission published new guidance on menopause in the workplace.

23 February - Data Protection

The Information Commissioner’s Office published new guidance restricting the use of biometric data recognition systems, such as fingerprint and facial recognition technology.

1 April - Early years childcare entitlement, Wages & Holidays

Early years childcare entitlement

Eligible working parents of 2 year-olds are entitled to access 15 hours of childcare support. In September 2024 this entitlement will extend to parents with children aged 9 months and above, with applications opening from 12 May 2024.


Minimum wage and national living wage (NLW) increase. The NLW previously applied to those aged 23 and above but now applies to those aged 21 and above.

Apprentices Under 18 18 – 20 NLW (21+)
£6.40* £6.40 £8.60 £11.44

* This rate only applies if the apprentice is aged under 19 or aged over 19 but in the first year of their apprenticeship


For leave years beginning on (or after) 1 April 2024, holiday pay for part-year and irregular hours workers can be based on 12.07% of the hours worked in the previous pay period.  Holiday pay can also be ‘rolled-up’ i.e. paid on top of the worker’s normal salary but the employer must inform the worker if they intend to do this.  For those on sick or family-related leave, accrual will be based on the average working hours of the previous 52 week period.

6 April - Paternity leave, Carer's Leave, Maternity/Redundancy, Flexible Working & Increases to parental pay, sick pay & compensation limit

Paternity leave

Previously paternity leave could only be taken as either one whole week or two consecutive weeks and within 56 days of birth/adoption. The change means that paternity leave can be taken in two non-consecutive blocks that can be taken at any time during the first year following birth/adoption placement.

Carers leave

This gives carers the right to take one week’s unpaid leave to provide or arrange care in each rolling 12-month period. The leave can be taken as a minimum of half a day up to a block of one full week but the employee must give twice as much notice as the period of leave required e.g. one day’s leave would require two days’ notice, although this can be waived by the employer. The employee is not required to evidence the reason for their request. Leave cannot be declined but can be postponed on specific grounds.


People who are on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave who are at risk of redundancy are entitled to ‘first dibs’ on any suitable vacancies which arise whilst on leave.  This amendment extends that protection so that it applies as soon as the employee announces that they are pregnant and will continue for 18 months from the birth or start of the adoption or shared parental leave.

Flexible Working

The right to request flexible working (e.g. request a change to hours, times or place of work) became a day 1 right.  Employees can now make 2 requests per year (previously this was 1) and will no longer be required to explain what effect they think the change will have on the employer.  Requests cannot be refused without consultation and decisions must be provided within 2 months (previously this was 3).

Increases to parental pay, sick pay & compensation limit

  • Statutory adoption/ maternity/shared parental pay increased from £172.48 to £184.03 per week.Statutory sick pay increased from £109.40 to £116.75 per week.
  • The statutory cap on the compensatory award increased from £105,707 to £115,115.
1 July - TUPE

Where there are no existing employee representatives in place, businesses with fewer than 50 employees or where fewer than 10 employees are transferring, are no longer required to elect employee representatives and can instead directly inform and consult with staff.

19 August - Attendance

Government guidance seeking to drive up attendance rates becomes statutory on 19 August 2024 and will bring into force new legislation.

For more information about any of these changes, please get in touch with Rachel, or another of our expert Education Solicitors.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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