We are expecting new flexible working legislation and a new ACAS Code of Practice on Flexible Working (supported by new ACAS Guidance) to come into effect in April 2024.
This will introduce the following changes to the flexible work regime:
The changes don't affect school's ability to reject requests on one of the eight prescribed business grounds and these have remained unchanged. However, the changes are likely to result in an increased number of requests and added scrutiny around decisions made.
From 6 April 2024, employees with caring responsibilities will have a statutory right to take up to one week's unpaid leave per rolling 12-month period, to provide or arrange care for their dependents. They must be providing or arranging the care on an unpaid basis to qualify for the leave. The leave is a “day one” right, meaning there is no minimum service requirement to take advantage of it. As with other statutory leave entitlements employees who take, or seek to take, carer's leave will be protected from being subjected to any detriment or being dismissed as a consequence of having done so. Schools will need to ensure this right is understood so that any absences can be accommodated and must be disregarded when managing attendance or making other decisions (for example around promotions, access to training opportunities or redundancies).
The Government has now published the draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024.
The Regulations come into force on 8 March 2024 and apply where the Expected Week of Childbirth is 6 April 2024 onwards
The Regulations will make the following changes to the legal framework for paternity leave:
Schools will need to update their employment policies to reflect these changes. For those schools who adopt our Employment Manual we will be providing an update in due course.