What’s in store for employment law? Summary of the key changes expected in 2015

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Posted in:HR and Employment|January 30, 2015 | Join the mailing list

With January out of the way and 2014 now truly behind us, here we summarise some of the changes to employment law expected in the year ahead.  Most of the planned changes are in the area of family-friendly rights and are due to take effect from 5 April
2015, so now is definitely the time for employers and to get an understanding of what the changes will mean for their organisation in practice, and to consider making amendments to handbooks, policies, and contracts of employment as appropriate.

Of course with this being a general election year, on 30 March 2015 parliament will be dissolved and a pre-election period of uncertainty will commence.  We will keep you abreast of announcements made by the main political parties which would impact on employment
law.  Then, the general election takes place on 7 May 2015 and we can look more closely at what might be expected from the next government.

5 April 2015

This is the date from which the much-publicised (and very complicated) shared parental leave and pay will be available for certain employees who are adopting a child, or expecting a child to be born on or after that date. See our news alert for more information
and sign up to our Shared Parental Leave Breakfast Seminar on 3 March 2015 here.

Further changes not to be neglected that take effect on this date are:

•    Statutory adoption leave will no longer have the 26-week qualifying period, and adoption pay will be brought in line with maternity pay, which will be 90% of normal earning for the first six weeks.

•    The right to unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 years (until 5 April 2015 it remains available only to the parents of children under 5 or 17 and under if the child is disabled).

•    The extension of certain rights (provided they meet the eligibility criteria) to parents who have a child through surrogacy.  They will be permitted to take ordinary paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and shared parental leave and pay. Both
parents will also be entitled to take unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments with the woman carrying the child.

•    The statutory level of pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay is to increase to £139.58 per week and the standard rate of statutory sick pay is also set to rise, to £88.45 per week.  

1 July 2015

After several key decisions regarding the calculation of holiday pay (and in particular the inclusion of non-guaranteed overtime in that calculation), the Government made an announcement that any claims brought after 1 July 2015 for non-guaranteed overtime
to be included in holiday pay would not be allowed to look back further than two years in relation to a “series of deductions” from wages.

1 October 2015

Like every year, the Government will determine the national minimum wage rate to apply from 1 October 2015 (which is expected to rise).  The Low Pay Commission submits its report with recommendations on national minimum wage rates to the Government in February
2015, before a decision is taken and the new rate takes effect from 1 October 2015.

Also expected in 2015

The Government’s new Fit for Work Service (the previously intended name was the Health and Safety Advisory Service) will be rolled out during the course of this year.  It will offer a free occupational health assessment of employees who have been absent from
work, or are expected to be absent, through sickness for four weeks or more.  Individual cases will be allocated to a Case Manager who it is intended will assist with providing support and advice to help get the relevant employee back to work.  The service
will also offer a general enquiry and advice service.

For more information about any of the above, please contact
Nigel Crebbin
of Berg on 0161 833 9211 or email him at
nigelc@berg.co.uk.

Follow us on Twitter: @Berg_HR

(The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or employees. Professional legal advice should
be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.)

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