Redundancy and Family Leave Legislation for 2024

Changes regarding the rules for handling those on family leave during a redundancy process from 6th April 2024. The changes focus around prioritisation of offering suitable alternative roles.

Published Categorised as Employment Law Tagged ,
Redundancy & Family Leave - LighterHR
Redundancy & Family Leave - LighterHR

1. Current Rules Regarding Redundancy and Family Leave

Currently, employers are often a little confused around whether or not an employee who is on family leave can be made redundant.

The short answer is, yes they can be. However, there are some additional considerations.

The key consideration is that, employees who are on family leave, need to be prioritised for suitable alternative vacancies.

So, in a redundancy situation where there is a pool of individuals and one or more of those individuals is on family leave, the process is as follows:

During this process, employees who are on family leave are not treated any differently to those who are not on family leave.

However, part of your redundancy process will be identifying whether there are any suitable alternative roles for those individuals who are selected for redundancy. This is where people on family leave are prioritised. If you identify any suitable alternative roles then these roles must be offered to individuals who are on family leave before they are offered to others.

This right only applies to people who are on family leave at the time at which you conduct the process and make a decision regarding who is being selected for redundancy.

2. What Is Changing?

As of 6th April 2024, the right to be prioritised for suitable alternatives vacancies is being extended. The extension covers the period leading up to the leave and 6 months after the leave has ended.

The table below summarises the position:

Family Leave ScenarioWhen Protection StartsWhen Protection Ends
Pregnant employeeProtection starts when the employee notifies the company of the pregnancy.18 months after the child’s date of birth.  In many instances this will be approximately 6 months after the employee returns from maternity leave.
Employee suffers a miscarriageProtection starts when the employee notifies the company of the pregnancy.Two weeks after the end of the pregnancy where the pregnancy ends before 24 weeks.

Note: Where the pregnancy ends at 24 weeks or after, standard maternity leave applies (refer to “pregnant employee” scenario above)
Employee taking adoption leaveProtection starts at the beginning of adoption leave.18 months after the date of placement.
Employee taking shared parental leaveBeginning of shared parental leave.

Note: If an employee has also taken maternity leave or adoption leave then the rules relating to those leave types apply.
If less than 6 weeks of shared parental leave is taken then protection ends when the period of leave ends.

If more than 6 continuous weeks of leave is taken, protection ends 18 months after the birth of the child.

The new protection applies to any pregnancies of which a company is notified after 6th April 2024.

3. Actions an Employer Should Take To Implement Changes to Redundancy and Family Leave

For most companies, there is nothing to be done relating to this particular legislation change.

It’s something that needs to be considered if you undertake a redundancy programme.

If you do have a redundancy policy and it speaks to rights for employees on family leave then this should be updated to reflect the new protection.

Read the full list of employment law changes for 2024, with individual posts on each topic, providing all the information you need.

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