Newsflash: October changes

seasonal changes - falling leavesIt’s that time of year when the biannual employment legislation changes take place, and the following came into effect on 1 October 2014:

  • National minimum wage: The following National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates came into effect:
  • adult rate: increase by 19p to £6.50 an hour;
  • 18-20 year olds: increase by 10p to £5.13 an hour;
  • 16-17 year olds: increase by 7p to £3.79 an hour; and
  • apprentice rate: increase by 5p to £2.73 an hour.

This is the first time in six years that the adult rate rise was higher than inflation.

  • Power to order equal pay audits: Employment Tribunals now have the power to order employers found to have been in breach of equal pay law to carry out equal pay audits in certain circumstances. For more detail see our July Newsflash Equal pay audits on the way.
  • Whistle-blowing: new list of prescribed persons came into effect. This is an updated list of “prescribed persons” who can legitimately receive whistle-blowing complaints (subject to conditions).       For further information on “prescribed persons” and their current and future reporting requirements on which the Government has been consulting see our August Newsletter Government Reforms (3): Whistleblowing consultation.
  • Reservists (e.g. members of the Army Reserve/Territorial Army): will be exempted from the two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims where the reason or principal reason for dismissal is the employee’s reservist service.
  • Time off to accompany partner to antenatal appointments: Employees and qualifying agency workers now have the right to take unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman with whom they have a “qualifying relationship” to up to two antenatal appointments and up to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment. For further detail see our recent September Newsletter Government reforms (1): Right to accompany to ante natal appointments.