Newsflash: Looking ahead to 2015

looking-ahead-2-250Happy New Year and welcome to 2015 – a busy year for HR/employment law changes. To keep you up to speed with these we round-up the most significant below.

5 April

Shared Parental Leave

The new right to shared parental leave applies to eligible parents of babies due on or after 5 April 2015 (and in relation to adoptive parents of children placed for adoption on or after that date). See our October Newsletter Government reforms (1): Family friend(lier) – shared parental leave and pay for further details.

Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay changes

Changes relating to adoptive parents of children placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015 include the removal of the 26-week qualifying period and increase of statutory adoption pay to bring it into line with statutory maternity pay. The Act also allows prospective adoptive parents to take time off “for the purpose of having contact with the child or for any other purpose connected with the adoption”.

Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increase

Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay will be £139.58 per week from 5 April 2015.

Parental leave extension

The existing parental leave regime will be extended to parents of children aged between 5 and 18.

All parents of children from birth up to 18 years old who have been continuously employed for one year and have, or expect to have, responsibility for a child will be entitled to take such leave. The leave is unpaid and up to a maximum of 18 weeks in total, limited to four weeks per year.

6 April

Statutory sick pay increases

The standard rate of statutory sick pay will increase from £87.55 per week to £88.45.

May

Fit for Work

The new health and work assessment and advisory service, “Fit for Work”, is expected to be fully up and running in England and Wales by May 2015. For more details see our Newsletter entries and Newsflashes on this topic available here.

July

Unlawful deductions from wages

A two-year “backstop” period on most unlawful deductions from wages claims e.g. commission, bonuses, fees, holiday pay will apply to claims presented on or after 1 July 2015. For details see our Newsflash Holiday pay claims – Government action.

October

National Minimum Wage

NMW rates may increase from 1 October – depending on the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission’s report, which is due to be delivered to the Government in spring 2015, and on economic conditions. It is also anticipated that a new maximum penalty for failure to pay the National Minimum Wage of £20,000 per unpaid worker, rather than £20,000 per employer, will come into force.

We will update you in more detail about these changes as and when they come in. Keep an eye out in our Newsflashes and Newsletters…