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National Minimum Wage Increases, Family Friendly Policies and Reservists

EMPLOYMENT HELP FOR THE VERY BUSY – Autumn/Winter 2014

Welcome to the Autumn round-up of the latest legislative changes and their likely impact on small and micro businesses. If you find this information helpful, please pass on to others.

National Minimum Wage and The Living Wage (1st October 2014)

  • For workers aged 21 and above the rate will increase from £6.31 to £6.50.
  • For workers aged between 18 and 20 the rate increases from £5.03 per hour to £5.13.
  • For workers aged below 18 the rate increases from £3.72 per hour to £3.79.
  • For apprentices aged 19 and below, or in the first year of their course, the rate increases from £2.68 per hour to £2.73 per hour.

Kay’s comment: The Labour Party has put together proposals to increase the National Minimum Wage for adults to £8.00 per hour and the Living Wage Commission is still lobbying the government to support a Living Wage of £7.65 (www.livingwage.org.uk/).

Antenatal Rights Extended to Fathers and Partners (1st October 2014)

Fathers and partners of pregnant women are now entitled to unpaid time off to attend two ante-natal appointments. Intended parents in surrogacy cases who meet the conditions set out under the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act 2008 will also have same right. Employees will be eligible to take advantage of the new right straight away without accruing a minimum period of service.

Employment Protection for Reservists (1st October 2014)

From 1 October 2014, where an employee is dismissed exclusively (or mainly) because he or she is a member of a reserve force, the normal two-year service requirement for bringing an unfair dismissal claim does not apply and an employee may pursue a claim immediately in these circumstances.

Kay’s comment: In addition, small and medium-sized employers will be able to claim £500 per month (pro-rated for part-months and part-time employees working fewer than 35 hours per week) from the Ministry of Defence, during periods when a reservist employee is absent on military service.  Employers will also be able to claim up to £110 a day for additional salary costs incurred in providing cover for the absent reservist.

Shared Parental Leave (5th April 2015)

Shared Parental Leave will enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed. Mothers will be able to choose to end their maternity leave after an initial two week recovery period. Working parents can then decide how they want to share the remaining 50 weeks leave. Leave needs to be taken in complete weeks and preferably taken in a continuous period. If a discontinuous period is requested, the Company does have the right to refuse.

Kay’s comment: These changes will create more administration for smaller employers, but less problems are likely if the parents discuss their preferred patterns of working at an early stage. Some commentators have already suggested that ingrained cultural prejudices in UK workplaces and financial pressures will hinder the uptake of shared parental leave. If you would like further information about shared parental leave and the intended eligibility criteria, please call (01952 246612) or email (kay@kayhealdhr.co.uk).

There is also information available on the ACAS website: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4911

Please Note: The information contained in this e-newsletter is provided for your general use only.  It should not be treated as a substitute for obtaining professional employment advice on specific issues.

 

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