Employment Law Changes – 1st October 2014

October has arrived and with news that September was the driest on record, the relative drought on employment law changes is at an end.

From today the following changes will come into effect:


The National Minimum Wage will increase to

  • £6.50 for workers 21 and over
  • £5.13 for workers 18-20 yrs
  • £3.79 for 16-17 yrs olds
  • £2.73 for apprentices under 19 or 19 and over who are in the first year of apprenticeship


Qualifying workers will have the right to take unpaid time off work to accompany pregnant partners to up to two ante-natal appointments (qualification being dependent upon the relationship with the pregnant woman as well as employment status).


Employment Tribunals will have the power to require employers to carry out equal pay audits where they have breached the equal pay legislation.


Members of the Reserve Forces (the Territorial Army, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve or Royal Auxiliary Air Force) are set to benefit from the removal of the statutory qualifying period for unfair dismissal (where this dismissal is as a result of the employee being part of Reserve Forces).

It is currently a criminal offence for an employer to dismiss a reservist because they are called up or likely to be called up. However, typically reservists have been placed at a disadvantage when claiming unfair dismissal because periods of call-up do not count towards continuity of employment, which means that it is more difficult to satisfy the requirement for two years’ qualifying service.  The removal of this requirement will only apply to those whose date of termination falls after 1 October 2014.

The reforms will also enable the Secretary of State to make payments to employers whose employees are called up for service.  The scheme provides a monthly payment of £500 for each full month that a reservist is absent from work (providing that they are on a full-time contract for at least 35 hours per week) to small and medium-sized employers.  The payment is intended to cover the cost of employing a temporary replacement including agency fees, advertising and training costs, as long as the costs are quantifiable.


This Briefing has been produced for information purposes only and is based on the law and other information available at the time of writing. We cannot be held responsible for any losses incurred through acting or failing to act on the basis of anything contained in this Briefing.

If you require advice on any of the matters referred to, please contact us so that we can advise you, taking account of your own particular circumstances and requirements.

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