What's New: Employment Law 2015

What's New: Employment Law 2015

Published: 29 January 2015

UK employment law continues to develop at an unabated pace. With January almost at an end, the coming year promises several major changes in the legal landscape that both employers and HR professionals need to be aware of in order to avoid unexpected problems for their organisation.

Here’s a Summary of What to Expect:

From April 2015 a raft of changes will come into effect that will change the landscape of employment entitlements for working parents.

Shared Parental Leave and Pay

A new system of shared parental leave will be available to parents of children due to be born or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015. Eligible employees will be entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks’ leave and 39 weeks’ statutory pay upon the birth or adoption of a child, which can be shared between the parents. 

Adoption

From 5 April 2015, couples who are adopting a child from outside the UK will be entitled to shared parental leave and pay.

In addition, employees will have the right to take time off work to attend adoption appointments. Protection will also be provided

Fostering

Current adoption rights will be extended to individuals fostering children under the "Fostering for Adoption" scheme run by local authorities.

Unpaid Parental Leave

Amendments to the unpaid parental leave rules are due to come into force on 5 April 2015. The age of a child, up to which unpaid parental leave may be taken, will be increased from the child’s fifth birthday up to the child’s eighteenth birthday.

In addition to these "family friendly" changes, there are several other developments in UK employment law to watch out for:

Holiday Pay

There will be a two-year cap on back pay claims for holiday pay claims lodged on or after 1 July 2015 brought in by the Deduction from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014.

Caste Discrimination

A draft order outlawing caste discrimination is expected in the autumn. In the meantime, the EAT has held that race discrimination claims can include caste discrimination.

Time for a Spring Clean of your Business’s Employment Contracts, Policies and Procedures?

In order to ensure your business is fully up to date with these latest changes in UK employment law, we recommend carrying out a spring clean of your business’s employment contracts, policies and procedures to ensure they are fully compliant, and thereby avoid unanticipated liabilities. Remember a single claim for unfair dismissal can now potentially cost an employer £90,794 with costs rising even further in cases involving allegations of discrimination so a spring clean could be of real benefit to your company.

As an example of the services we can offer your organisation, we are able to provide you with Shared Parental Leave and Pay policies and procedures reflecting the imminent changes in the law for inclusion in your existing ‘family friendly’ related policies and procedures.

Free Employment Law Health Check

We appreciate that with all of the pressures involved in running a business in these difficult economic times, you may have limited time available to ensure your employment law practices and procedures are fully up to date with employment law best practice.

At Fletcher Day we can help ease the burden by providing your business with a free employment health check.  We will come to you and review your employment documents and procedures to ensure they are legally compliant.   We will then send you a complimentary report setting out our recommendations with no obligation to you. 

Even if you do not have any employment policies or contracts currently in place we can assist you with this too.

Please contact Julian Cox, Head of Employment either by telephone on 0207 632 1442 or email Julian Cox  to make an appointment.