Changes to Employment Law are afoot – again!
Do you know what your employees are now entitled to? Or what new responsibilities have been imposed on you as an employer?
Here’s a summary of the changes –
1. Shared Parental Leave and Pay
This will be available to couples who are expecting a child (including through adoption), or are due to have a child after April 5th 2015. The existing rule allow a women an entitlement to 52 weeks maternity leave and 39 weeks maternity statutory pay, whilst men are entitled to two weeks paternity leave with statutory pay – however extended paternity leave and pay has been abolished.
The new rule means that couples will now be able to share out the care of the child in the first year after its birth, as parental leave can be shared for the 52 weeks of maternity leave. This means that mothers will be able to commit to end their maternity leave and share the balance remaining leave and pay with their partner. Each employee may have different parental leave available to them as it will depend on the amount of leave that the parent has taken in respect of that child.
2. Changes to Adoption Leave and Pay
The Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2014 will become effective on 5th April 2015 and require changes to the current adoption leave arrangements by you as the employer. From an employee’s perspective, the changes mean that you no longer need to have worked for your employer for 26 weeks to be eligible for leave. Furthermore, mothers and fathers who are fostering are entitled to adoption leave, paternity leave cannot, however, be taken when shared parental leave has already taken place, and protection is provided for those who have taken time off for adoption leave to ensure they do not undergo unfair dismissal whilst off and parents who are having a child through surrogacy will become eligible for adoption leave.
3. New Right to Attend Adoption Appointments.
The Children and Families Act from 5th April 2015 introduces the right for employees to attend adoption appointments. The main person adopting will be able to take time off for up to five appointments, whilst the secondary adopter will be able to take two appointments.
4. Unpaid Parental Leave for Under 18′s.
The right to take unpaid parental leave is currently available for children up to the age of five (or 18 if they are disabled), but this new regulation (in place from April 5th 2015) means that parents can now take unpaid time off for children under the age of 18.
5. New rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay.
From 5th April 2015, statutory maternity pay will increase from the current rate of £138.18 per week, to £139.58. Shared parental pay is a new rate of pay available and this will also be set at £139.58.
6. Abolishment of employer national insurance contributions for workers under 21.
From 6th April 2015, the government is introducing new measures to encourage youth employment with the abolition of employers National Insurance contributions for those aged under 21.
7. New rate of Statutory Sick Pay.
From 6th April 2015 Statutory Sick Pay will increase from £87.55 to £88.45 per week.
8. Limits on Employment Tribunal awards and statutory payments increase.
With effect from 6th April 2015, the maximum amount of compensation for unfair dismissals will be capped at between £76,574 to £78,335. As well as this, the maximum amount of weekly pay used to calculate statutory redundancy pay and other awards will rise from £464.00 to £475.00.
So, were you aware of these changes? For more updates on matters which you or your business needs to stay aware of, sign up for our newsletter today by sending your email address to Phillipa.