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Employment law changes April 2015

2015 continues to be an exciting year in employment law and it’s that time of year again when the new tribunal limits come into play and we familiarise ourselves with new legislation coming into force. Below we summarise the key changes.

generic employment

Legislative changes

Adoption rights – on 5 April 2015, the entitlement to adoption leave becomes a “day one” employment right (i.e. the requirement for 26 weeks service before being entitled to this right is removed). Adopters will also now be entitled to paid time off work to attend appointments to have contact with the child prior to the adoption taking place.

Shared parental leave – the right to shared parental leave comes into force on 5 April 2015. Employers may have already received requests for shared parental leave as the new regulations apply to babies due on or after this date.

For information about eligibility, leave and pay, visit our shared parental leave hub. Our flow charts will also help you to navigate the changes.

Unpaid parental leave –  from 5 April 2015, parents with one year’s service will be able to take ordinary unpaid parental leave for all children up to the age of 18, rather than only children up to the age of five, or children up to the age of 18 with disabilities.

New tribunal limits – from 6 April 2015:

• the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will be increased to £78,335 (previously £76,574);

• the maximum amount of a week’s pay used to calculate statutory redundancy payments will increase to £475 (previously £464); and

• the statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay rates will be increased to £139.58 (previously £138.18).

Our checklist provides information on all the changes to key payments and limits.

Fit for work – the new government funded occupational health scheme is for employees who are off work for four weeks or more. The scheme has been piloted in a number of areas over the last four years and is now being rolled out nationally. The service is due to be in place in all areas by May 2015. See our recent blog.

However, it is not just employment changes we need to be aware of:

Pensions – as from 6 April 2015 individuals over 55 years old will be able to access their pension funds on a much more flexible basis, rather than being restricted to purchasing an annuity.

Immigration – as from 6 April 2015 there will be a number of changes to the immigration rules which will apply to all new applications or extensions to existing visas made on or after that date e.g. the applicable minimum salaries for Tier 2 positions.

Cases

Collective redundancy consultation – the Advocate General’s opinion in the “Woolworths” case was released on 5 February 2015 but we are now waiting for the judgment of the European Court of Justice regarding the  meaning of establishment.

The calculation of holiday pay – judgment was delivered in the Lock v British Gas case on 25 March. The judgment confirms that employers will need to account for commission when calculating holiday pay for workers going forward. From 1 July 2015 claims for holiday pay will be capped at 2 years’ back pay. For the latest news and developments in relation to holiday pay visit our holiday pay hub. 

Keep up to date and follow us: @DWF_Employment

Questions about the changes happening in April? Get in touch

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Legal news, views, trends and tools for HR Professionals. Stay ahead. Go further