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In April 2024, there will be significant changes to UK redundancy rules.

Currently, employers have a legal obligation to offer suitable alternative employment, where a vacancy exists, to an employee who is on maternity leave, shared parental or adoption leave, if their job is at risk of redundancy. This is limited to the duration of the relevant leave.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, which received Royal Assent on 24 May 2023, introduces further protections which means that expectant employees or those returning from maternity, adoption and shared parental leave, will receive greater protection from redundancy.

What does the new legislation mean?

Under the current law, employees on maternity leave, adoption leave, or shared parental leave have special protection in any redundancy situation. When the new legislation comes into effect on 6 April, it will extend the protection to pregnant employees and those who have recently returned from maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

This means that if a pregnant employee took maternity leave, they would be protected for 18 months from the child’s date of birth if they notify the employer before the end of the maternity leave. This will also apply to fathers taking sufficient shared parental leave.

What are the changes to the redundancy legislation?

Implications for employers

From April, employers planning to restructure will need to make sure they’ve considered the new legislation and any issues that may arise as a result of it. This new legislation will likely increase the number of employees with the additional protection in a redundancy situation so this will need to be carefully managed.

Employers may also face difficulties in calculating and recording the protected period for the employees affected.  Policies and procedures may require updating.

Failure to offer a protected employee a suitable alternative vacancy in a redundancy situation, would mean that the employee raise a claim in the employment tribunal and claim high levels of compensation, so it’s important to make sure that as an employer you comply with all the changes in law.

There is no official guidance on how to proceed where there are more employees with protected status than there are suitable alternative vacancies, so it would be worthwhile engaging the services of an employment law specialist.

For support in implementing this new legislation or other employment rules and regulations, our employment law specialist, Clare Thomas, is on hand to give practical advice. Contact her on 01782 200500 or email

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