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Human Resources


New and amended legislation is being introduced on 6 April 2024 to widen access to flexible working, introduce a new leave entitlement for carers, extend existing redundancy protections, and change the way paternity leave is booked and taken.

As a result, a number of changes will be made to the following University policies and procedures:

  • Flexible Working Policy
  • Special Leave Policy
  • Redeployment Framework
  • Organisational Change Policy
  • Maternity Policy
  • Adoption Policy
  • Shared Parental Leave Policy
  • Paternity / Co-Parent Policy

The changes are summarised below and a more detailed overview of the changes is available.


1. Widening access to flexible working

From 6 April all employees will have a statutory right to make a flexible working request from day one of their employment. Up to two requests in a 12-month period can be made and the decision must now be made within two months, unless mutually extended. A mandatory consultation meeting must be held if the request cannot be met, with the aim of seeing what modifications can be made to the request to achieve at least some of the benefit to the employee requesting the changes. Employees will also no longer need to explain the impact and possible mitigation of their request. The Flexible Working Policy will set out the full changes, along with a flowchart illustrating the altered process for making a request.

The Flexible Working Policy will be amended so all requests, including temporary requests of less than three months, will follow the statutory process within the Policy. There will also be an emphasis on identifying alternatives or modifications and more content added around the mandatory consultation meeting where a request is not approved immediately. The legislation increases statutory requests to two in any 12-month period, and the policy has information on "live" requests. Permitted representatives attending consultations will include trade union officials, in line with the new Code's best practice. Requests relating to reasonable adjustments will be handled within the Flexible Working Application procedure, with reference to the Equality Act 2010 obligations.


2. Giving carers a new entitlement to leave to support dependants

A new ‘day one’ entitlement is being introduced to provide planned, unpaid leave of up to five days per year, for employees supporting a dependant with a long-term care need. Leave will be able to be taken in half-day blocks and if leave is not permitted for the date requested, then the postponed date of leave must be within one month of the original requested date. No proof will be required for the caring entitlement, but employees will need to sign a declaration of entitlement.

The Special Leave Policy will be amended to include this new category of leave. The accompanying CHRIS/68 form will be amended to reflect the changes to provide a 'declaration of entitlement' and record of alternative date(s) if leave is not permitted for the date requested.


3. Extending existing protections from redundancy

Currently parents taking a period of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave are entitled to be offered any suitable alternative employment in a redundancy situation. New legislation will extend this existing protection for up to 18 months after birth or placement for adoption. Pregnant employees, and those on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave will be entitled to the additional protection, as will pregnant employees who suffer miscarriages.

Relevant sections in the Redeployment Framework and Organisational Change Policy will be amended to include the enhanced protection and the Maternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave Policies will be amended with information about how the additional protection relates to the relevant leave type.


4. Changing the way paternity leave is taken

The rules on the timing and notice of statutory paternity leave are changing, but there is no increase to the overall entitlement, which remains at two weeks. Employees will be able to choose to take either two non-consecutive week’s paternity leave, or a single period of either one or two weeks. The period in which paternity leave must be taken will be extended to 52 weeks after the birth or adoption placement and notice of entitlement to take paternity leave must be given in or before the 15th week before the expected week of birth, followed by at least 28 days’ notice of each period of leave.

The Paternity / Co-Parent Policy will be amended to reflect the new timings and notice procedure, along with the accompanying CHRIS/65 form.


All policy and form changes will be available on 6th April 2024.  For further information, please contact the HR Business Partnering team working with your School or Non-School Institution.