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Employment Law General Update – March 2024

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We bring news of several changes to the leave allowances for parents and carers in this month’s update. We also look at the latest report from the Treasury about the shocking levels of sexual harassment and bullying in the city whilst the Parker Review has found while there has been some improvement in ethnic minority representation on boards, there is still plenty of room for improvement. We also share news on the new ICO guidance on information sharing in a mental health emergency at work.

  • Discrimination: Sexism in the City report finds ‘shocking’ levels of sexual harassment and bullying
  • Data Protection: ICO issues guidance on information sharing in a mental health emergency at work

Parental & Carer’s Leave: New Regulations come into force

The new Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/329) are made to amend the Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002, SI 2002/2788, the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Adoption from Overseas) Regulations 2003, SI 2003/921, and the Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave (Parental Order Cases) Regulations 2014, SI 2014/3096. They came into force on 8 March 2024 and apply to children whose:

  • expected week of childbirth is after 6 April 2024; or
  • expected date of placement for adoption, or expected date of entry into Great Britain for adoption, is on or after 6 April 2024.

The changes include, amongst other things:

  • allowing an employee to choose to take either two non-consecutive weeks’ paternity leave (birth), or a single period of either one week or two weeks; and
  • extending the period in which paternity leave (birth) must be taken from 56 days after the birth of the child, to 52 weeks after the birth.

The new Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/264) are made to extend an existing statutory protection from redundancy that currently applies to those employees who are on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave. The extension means this protection also applies to pregnant women and new parents who have recently returned from any period of maternity or adoption leave, or from a period of six or more weeks of shared parental leave. The Regulations are due to come into force on 6 April 2024. Therefore any employers currently considering commencing a redundancy process or in the middle of one should review any affected employees who may now be protected under these new Regulations.

The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/251) are made to implement a new statutory entitlement to Carer’s Leave for employees from 6 April 2024. They ensure that this leave will be available to employees for the purpose of caring for a dependant with a long-term care need. They are also due to come into force on 6 April 2024.

These are supported by The Carer’s Leave (Consequential Amendments to Subordinate Legislation) Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/266) which make necessary amendments to various pieces of secondary legislation in consequence of the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 which makes provision for the new statutory right to carer’s leave, available for employed carers from 6 April 2024. When calculating entitlements to certain other benefits or rights, leave is often a relevant factor. This instrument makes provision to ensure that it is clear in those pieces of secondary legislation how carer’s leave should be treated in those calculations.

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Discrimination: Sexism in the City report finds ‘shocking’ levels of sexual harassment and bullying

The Treasury Committee has published its Sexism in the City report, following an inquiry launched in July 2023, and is calling for an end to the ‘era of impunity’ after finding a ‘shocking’ prevalence of sexual harassment and bullying, and a culture which is ‘holding back women’ in the City. The Committee welcomes proposals by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) to strengthen their regimes for tackling non-financial misconduct, including sexual harassment, but calls on them to ‘drop their prescriptive plans for extensive data reporting and target setting’. The FCA has responded to the report.

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Diversity and Gender Pay Gap: Parker Review Committee update report expands scope of targets for ethnic minority representation

The Parker Review Committee has published its March 2024 report into ethnic diversity across UK businesses. For the first time, the Committee has expanded its review to include senior management data, commenting that this yields a clearer picture than looking into boards of directors alone. It has also expanded its research to include private companies (50 in total) as well as listed companies. The report found that:

  • 96% of FTSE 100 companies have at least one ethnic minority director on their board, compared with 44% of private companies;
  • ethnic minorities currently represent an average of 13% of senior management positions within FTSE 100 companies, with a target set to increase this average to 17% by 2027.

Hywel Ball, Chairman and Managing Partner of EY UK, says:

The Parker Review, and the targets that it sets, provide an important benchmark and objective criteria to encourage fair representation of ethnic minorities. Crucially, it ensures we lead efforts to diversify UK business with respect to ethnicity from the top down and continue to be held accountable, no matter the macroeconomic climate. Representation matters – the more diverse boardroom and executive teams are, the greater the ripples across the organisation. Over the last nine years, there has been good progress but we are still a long way from achieving parity based on ethnicity. This year’s figures – 12 ethnic minority CEOs in the FTSE 100 and 7 Chairs – are encouraging but show there is work to be done to ensure our business leaders fairly represent their customers and society they serve.”

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Data Protection: ICO issues guidance on information sharing in a mental health emergency at work

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued guidance for employers on sharing their workers’ personal information in a mental health emergency. The guidance sets out advice on when, and how, it is appropriate to share workers’ personal information where the employer believes that someone is at risk of causing serious harm to themselves or others due to their mental health. The ICO adds that it is good practice to plan ahead in order to make timely and better-informed decisions during a mental health emergency. The guidance considers what a mental health emergency is, how mental health information differs under data protection law, how to plan for information sharing and the lawful bases and special category conditions that are most likely to apply.

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Further Information:

If you would like any additional information, please contact Anne-Marie Pavitt or Sophie Banks on:


The data contained within this document is for general information only. No responsibility can be accepted for inaccuracies. Readers are also advised that the law and practice may change from time to time. This document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute accounting, legal or tax advice. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.

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