There are only 4 weeks to go until the start of another new financial year.  Each year brings lots of new legislative changes and 2015 will be no different.   Here is a quick, 10 point guide on what to expect from an Employment Law perspective:

1 – Shared Parental Leave & Pay

Parents of children born or placed for adoption on or after 5thApril 2015 will benefit from the introduction Shared Parental Leave.  The new regulations aim to give parents greater flexibility regarding caring for their child in its first year.  The government delivered  a very complex set of regulations guaranteed to give any employer a headache.  Click through to our Shared Parental Leave blog post for more information.

2 – Sick Pay

From  6th April the standard rate of SSP increases to £88.45 per week.

3 – Statutory Maternity Pay

From  6th April Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) will increase to £139.58 per week.  The same increase will apply to paternity, adoption and shared parental leave.

4 – Statutory Adoption Leave

The Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2014 introduce significant changes with regards Adoption Leave & Pay.  The removal of the 26 week qualifying period  will bring adoption leave entitlement in line with Maternity leave.  Surrogate Parents will also become eligible for Adoption Leave.

5 – Time off for Adoption Appointments

The Children and Families Act 2013 will grant a new right to attend adoption appointments.  The primary adoptive parent will be permitted to take time off work to attend up to 5 appointments whilst the secondary adopter will be entitled to take time off for up to 2 such appointments.

6 – Child Age Limit for Parental Leave increases to 18

Not to be confused with Shared Parental Leave – Parental Leave is the right a parent may exercise to take unpaid leave from work.  Currently open to parents of children under the age of 5, from 5th April 2015 parents of children under the age of 18 and sufficient qualifying service will be able become eligible.

7 – Redundancy Pay

From the 6th April, the limit for one week’s pay when calculating redundancy pay will increase to £475.

8 – Employment Tribunal Awards

Again from the 6th April the limit for one week’s pay when calculating compensation for unfair dismissal will increase to £475.  The maximum compensation award will be capped at £78,335.

9 – Fit for Work service

The Fit for Work service is scheduled to be introduced throughout England and Wales in 2015 aimed at helping employers and employees manage sickness absence.  This new service provides access to free occupational health assistance for employees who have been absent from work due to illness for a period of four weeks or more.  Employers will be entitled to claim up to £500 tax relief on payments for medical treatment where the employee’s treatment has been recommended under the new service.

10 – National Minimum Wage (updated)

The Government has announced that the National Minimum Wage will rise by 3% for most employees from 1st October 2015.  The Apprenticeship rate will rise by 21%, considerably more than recommended by the Low Pay Commission.  See our recent News article “National Minimum Wage rates from October 2015” for the rates in full.

For more information on any of the topics mentioned above or,  if you need help understanding and implementing them in the workplace, please call us today and book a free, 30 minute consultation with one of our specialist employment law solicitors.

Tel:          01245 893400