There are several key employment law changes that will come into effect on 1 October 2014 that employers need to be aware of:-
Time off to accompany partner to antenatal appointments
Employees and agency workers will have a right to take unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman with whom they have a “qualifying relationship” to up to two antenatal appointments, up to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment.
For further reading on the changes, The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published an Employer’s Guide on Time Off to Accompany a Pregnant Woman to Ante-natal Appointments and a further document, an Employer’s Technical Guide to Shared Parental Leave and Pay. The Technical Guide is intended to assist employers when they are implementing policies on shared parental leave and pay, providing practical examples and responses to frequently asked questions; it also covers the more technical aspects of the scheme that the more general guide does not cover.
- National minimum wage. The national minimum wage rates for all workers will increase as follows:-
- Adult rate: £6.50
- Development rate: £5.13
- Young workers rate: £3.79
- Apprenticeship rate: £2.73
- Accommodation offset: £5.08
- Power to order equal pay audits. Under the Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2559), which were made on 22 September this year, tribunals will 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.
- Reserve Forces reform. The Defence Reform Act 2014 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2014 (SI 2014/2370) will bring section 48 of the Defence Reform Act 2014 into force, which removes the statutory qualifying period for unfair dismissal where the dismissal is connected with the employee's membership of the Reserve Forces. The order also brings into force section 46 and Schedule 7 of the Defence Reform Act 2014, which amend the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to make provision for payments to small and medium-sized employers of reservists who are called out for service. The Reserve Forces (Payments to Employers and Partners) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2410) set out how these payments will be calculated.