The Legislation Top 10
The "Top 10" legislative changes in no particular order...
At number 10 there’s a new entry – Deduction from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014. These new Regulations snuck in last year and were passed on 8 January 2015. Brought in off the back of the reported holiday pay decisions, the Regulations limit unlawful deduction from wages claims to 2 years. The new Regulations only apply to claims lodged on/after 1 July 2015.
At number 9 a climber - it’s the annual awards and statutory payment figures. From 6 April 2015 there is an increase in compensation awards for unfair dismissal and a “week’s pay”. Maximum compensation increases from £76,574 to £78,335 and a week’s pay increases from £464 to £475. Statutory Sick Pay also increases from £87.55 a week to £88.45. Finally, the statutory rate of shared parental pay, maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £138.18 to £139.58 from 5 April 2015.
Another climber at number 8 it’s an increase in the rights of qualifying parents to take unpaid parental leave. Qualifying parents from 5 April 2015 will be able to take up to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave per child up to the child’s 18th birthday.
Number 7 is another climber, this time in the rights for adoptive parents. From 5 April 2015 eligible parents will see the right to take adoption leave for the primary adopter becoming a ‘day one’ right. This brings adoption leave in line with maternity leave. Also, statutory adoption pay increases to be in line with statutory maternity pay – the first 6 weeks of statutory adoption pay will be paid at 90% of average earnings, rather than at the flat rate of SAP.
Going up at number 6 is the right for single and joint adopters to attend adoption appointments. Employees proposing to adopt a child will be entitled to time off work to attend up to 5 pre-adoption appointments. The time off must be paid where the employee is adopting the child on their own. If the employee is adopting jointly then one of the parents may elect to receive the time off as paid and the other will be entitled to take the time off as unpaid.
Another new entry at number 5 are the rights of prospective adoptive parents under a Local Authority “Fostering to Adopt” Scheme. Current rights to adoption leave will apply to individuals fostering a child under the ‘Fostering for Adoption’ scheme from, 5 April 2015.
It’s a new entry as well at number 4 with the introduction of the new government Fit For Work Scheme. Although the telephone and internet advice service was up and running from December 2014, a new referral scheme to occupational heath is hoping to be up and running this Spring for employees who have been absent from work (or who are expected to be absent) for 4 weeks or more.
A new entry at number 3 under the Finance Act 2014 is a new rule to combat false self employment. The amended record-keeping, returns and penalties provisions under the Finance Act intended to combat false self-employment through service companies will apply from 6 April 2015.
At number 2 and possibly changing all the Top 10 is the General Election! – for details for the parties manifestos see our update here.
And at number one - and causing a big headache for employers - it’s shared parental leave. For parents whose babies are due to be born or matched for adoption on or after 5 April 2015, they may opt into the new system of shared parental leave. Leave can only be actually taken and shared where both parents are employed; however, a partner’s self-employment or agency work can assist the employed parent’s application and allow him/her to use the pot of statutory leave flexibly during the first year of birth or adoption. Shared parental leave can only start once the mother has returned to work or curtailed her maternity/adoption leave. A new statutory shared parental leave pay scheme will also be introduced with the respective parent being able to share a pot of statutory pay.
For details about these top 10 changes, please join us at our upcoming seminars or webinars – details of our training programme can be found on our website. To discuss these changes, please contact our Employment Team on 0118 952 7284.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.