Employment Law

There has been a number of very important changes in employment law so far this year and with yet more to come in 2015, it is critical that you not only keep up-to-date, but also ensure your contracts of employment, people policies and procedures are updated and that your managers have a clear

understanding of the impact of these changes on your organisation so that you are remaining legal compliant in your people practices.

 

So we are going to help you to stay ahead, and are recapping on some of the changes that have already occurred, which were published in our previous newsletters, together with giving you the ‘low down’ on what is yet to come.

 

January
In Great Britain, jobs can not be advertised exclusively in other European Economic Area countries without also advertising them at home.

 
March
It is now an offence for an employer to require an employee or job applicant to use their DPA subject access rights to produce a copy of their criminal record.

 

A revised financial package providing greater assistance for employers of mobilised reservists took effect.

 

April
The new shared parental leave scheme is now in place for parents whose babies were due on or after 5 April 2015, or who had children placed for adoption on or after that date. The shared parental leave allowance rate from 5 April is £139.58, which is in line with other maternity, paternity and adoption allowances.

 
Adoption rights – the 26 week qualifying period for adoption leave was removed and statutory adoption pay was brought into line with statutory maternity pay; adopters can take paid time off for some ‘adoption appointments’.

 

The right to take parental leave was extended to parents of any child under the age of 18.

 

The Pension Schemes Act 2015 enables people with a defined contribution pension to access their pension more flexibly.

 

The basic rates of maternity allowance and statutory maternity pay (SMP), statutory paternity pay (SPP) and statutory adoption pay (SAP) all increased to £139.58.

 

The rate of statutory sick pay (SPP) increased to £88.45.

 

Increased limits on employment tribunal awards came into force:
the maximum compensatory award rose to £78,335
the limit on a ‘week’s pay’ rose to £475.
National Minimum Wage – Regulations to consolidate the legislation came into force.

 

May
A ban on exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts came into force.

A new regime for English apprenticeships came into force.

A maximum £20,000 penalty for underpaying the national minimum wage, on a per worker basis rather than per notice, came into force.

 

July
Holiday pay – regulations come into force placing a two year limit on claims for unfair reduction from wages claims in respect of holiday pay – will apply to claims presented on or after 1 July 2015.

 
October
National Minimum Wage rates – will increase from 1 October: the standard adult rate to £6.70, the development rate for those aged 18-20 to £5.30, the young workers rate for those aged 16-17 to £3.87, and the apprentice rate to £3.30.

 

Changes to the Equality Act 2010 to remove the power of employment tribunals to issue wider recommendations in successful discrimination cases will come into force.

 

The new Government has announced there will be Bills on the following employment-related topics introduced in the new Parliamentary session: immigration, trade unions, further welfare reforms and moves to achieve full employment.