It is going to be yet another big year for Employment Law. Depending on what type of business you are in, you will need to keep abreast of a few significant changes. Top billing probably goes to the implementation of shared parental leave and pay, which is designed to provide greater flexibility for parents to care for a child under a year old.

Also arriving in 2015 will be the new Occupational Health Service to help employees return to work after long term sickness of 4 weeks or more; a change to the child’s age limit for parental leave; and the annual changes to statutory rates of pay.

Pension auto-enrolment is still lurking as a potential headache for some small and medium sized businesses.

So just what are the principle changes for 2015?

Shared Parental Leave and Pay Begins

As of April 2015, parents will be able to share the mother’s maternity leave and, if available, maternity pay. Shared parental leave will also be available for employees who are, or expect to be, the parents of a child under a parental order where the child’s expected week of birth begins on or after 5 April 2015.

Child’s Age Limit for Parental Leave rises to 18

From 5th April 2015, the age limit for the child will increase from 5 to 18 years. This means that parents with sufficient qualifying service will have the right to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave up to the child’s 18th birthday.

This substantially increases the period of time for which a qualifying employee may take unpaid leave to care for their children.

Introduction of Fit for Work Scheme

A new Government scheme will offer employers access to free occupational assistance in relation to employees who have been off sick for a period of 4 weeks or more.

The scheme is destined for a staged roll-out throughout 2015 and it is hoped that this scheme will be used by employers as a means of encouraging their employees back into work.

Changes to Statutory Limits

From 6th April 2015 the maximum compensatory award in Employment Tribunals will increase to £78,335.

The definition of a “weeks’ pay” will be increased to £475. This value is relevant in relation to the calculation of basic award at Employment Tribunal and also Statutory Redundancy Pay.

The value of Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £88.45 per week should an employee qualify for such payment.

From October 2015 we will see annual increases in the National Minimum Wage.

    • the adult rate will increase to £6.70 per hour;
    • the rate for 18-20 year olds will increase to £5.30 per hour;
    • the rate for 16-17 year olds will increase to £3.87 per hour; and
    • the apprentice rate will increase to £3.30 per hour.

With the General Election taking place in May further changes are almost inevitable. Sign up to our regular mailing list if you wish to be kept up to date.

Macleod & MacCallum will be hosting a number of seminars throughout the year and the first of these takes place on Friday 27th March 2015. This seminar is free of charge. We will look at Employment Law changes for the year ahead and what they will mean for your business.

Should you wish to attend this seminar or sign up to our mailing list, please contact our court department.

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