2015 Employment Law Updates
As the month of April approaches, both employers and employees should prepare for the various developments in employment legislation that will come into force. The key changes are as follows:
- Shared parental leave and pay will be available for couples expecting a child to be born, or placed for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015. The new legislation aims to provide greater flexibility for parents during their child’s first year, allowing them to share the mother’s maternity leave and, if available, maternity pay.
- Statutory adoption leave and pay provisions will be brought in line with those concerning maternity leave and pay from 6 April 2015. Employees will no longer have to have a 26-week qualifying period before they are entitled to statutory adoption leave, and adoption pay will amount to 90% of normal earnings for the first six weeks.
- Subject to meeting eligibility criteria, parents expecting a child through surrogacy will be allowed to take ordinary paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and shared parental leave and pay from 6 April 2015. Surrogate parents will also be allowed to take unpaid time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments with the woman carrying the child.
- The right to parental leave (unpaid time off work for up to 18 weeks) will be extended from 6 April 2015. The legislation, which only currently permits parents of a child with disabilities to take leave up to the child’s 18th birthday, will in future allow parents of any child under the age of 18 years to take parental leave.
- New statutory pay rates will be in force from 6 April 2015, with maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave pay increasing to £139.58 per week, and statutory sick pay (SSP) increasing to £88.45 per week.
- From 6 April 2015, the new limit for a week’s pay when calculating a redundancy payment will increase to £475.
- New compensation limits for employment tribunal awards will also be introduced from 6 April 2015. The limit for a week’s pay when calculating the unfair dismissal basic award will increase to £475, whilst the maximum unfair dismissal compensatory award will increase to £78,335 (or 52 weeks’ gross salary, whichever is the lesser).
- From 10 March 2015, it will be unlawful under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) to make ‘enforced data subject requests’. This practice, in an employment scenario, involves an employer requiring their employee to submit a ‘subject access request’ to specific bodies in order to obtain their personal data and share it with their employer. This is now a criminal offence under the DPA, and persons liable could face an unlimited fine.
- From October 2015, the national minimum wage shall increase to £6.70 an hour for workers aged 21 and over, £5.30 an hour for workers aged 18-20, £3.87 an hour for workers aged 16-17 and £3.30 an hour for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in their first year of the apprenticeship.
For further information on the issues raised in this article, please contact a member of the Spencer Wyatt team on 020 7925 8080 or by email at email@example.com.