Media Centre

Home / Media Centre / News / Major changes to paternity leave and flexible working laws loom from April

Major changes to paternity leave and flexible working laws loom from April

Changes to paternity leave and flexible working laws | James Austin

With significant changes to the legislation surrounding both paternity leave and flexible working coming into force during April 2024, we set out the key differences for both employers and employees.

One of the main changes in The Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 applies in cases where the expected week of childbirth falls on or after 6th April 2024, and will allow fathers or partners to split paternity leave into two blocks of one week, at any point in the first 52 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child.

Previously, for parents of babies born before 6th April 2024, fathers and partners had to take one continuous block of paternity leave of one or two weeks, within the first eight weeks after the birth.

In addition, under the amended legislation, employees will only need to give 28 days’ notice of their intention to take paternity leave, rather than having to give 15 weeks’ notice before the expected week of childbirth.

Another shakeup of employment legislation being introduced on the 6th April 2024, gives employees the right to request flexible working from the moment they start a new job, under The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023. Prior to this, an employee was required to have 26 weeks’ continuous service before they could make a formal flexible working request.

Employment law specialist and LCF Law partner, James Austin, explained: “The changes to flexible working in particular could have major ramifications for employers. The term ‘flexible working’ covers a broad scope of circumstances including working patterns, hours, part-time, flexi-time, term-time, compressed hours and adjusting start and finish times, as well as location or working from home.

“However, it’s worth remembering that not every request for flexible working has to be granted, but the changes do require employers to consult with employees before they reject their flexible working requests.

“Employers will also have just two months to respond to flexible working requests rather than the three months they had prior to these changes, and employees will be able to make two flexible working requests per year, compared to a single request under the previous rules. Finally, employees will no longer have to explain what effect their request could have on the employer and how this could be dealt with.

“These are all significant changes that employers need to be aware of because relevant HR, paternity and flexible working policies have to be updated. HR teams should also make management teams aware in case they have to answer queries around these topics, as well as planning for and managing absences. It’s also important that managers know the process for dealing with and handling both paternity and flexible working requests, and these are all areas where an experienced employment lawyer can help and add value.”

What can we do to help?

Our team advises on all aspects of the full range of employment law issues for businesses and employees and will be happy to discuss your needs with you.  Please contact James Austin on 01423 851 138 or email ku.oc1716980516.fcl@1716980516nitsu1716980516a.sem1716980516aj1716980516 for more information.

*Important information about our articles*

Get in touch