Employment law changes 2015: what you need to know

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This year will play host to the UK general election, and over the next few months we should all brace ourselves for an avalanche of news, argument and raised voices over the issue of employment law, as the main parties jockey for position, trying to win the affections of the UK electorate and business community.

The Conservatives have set out their stall by claiming the creation of 3 million apprenticeships should they remain in power. Whereas Labour argues they will ban exploitative zero-hours contracts and increase the minimum wage to help those struggling to make ends meet.

Consequently employers should prepare for changes in employment law and direction over the next 12 months.

Yet, never fear as here is our guide on upcoming changes, including links to hr24 articles elaborating on each issue.

  • Shared parental leave

This law was passed at the end of 2014 to provide greater flexibility in how parents share caring responsibilities for their child in its first year. Parents will be able to share the mother’s maternity leave and, if available, maternity pay

For more information of shared parental leave: Shared Parental Leave

  • Changes to statutory adoption leave

The Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2014 make changes to adoption leave law. This includes the removal of the 26-week qualifying period to be eligible to take adoption leave, bringing it in line with the eligibility requirements for maternity leave. Surrogate parents will also become eligible for adoption leave.

  • Child’s age limit for parental leave raises to 18

Parental leave is separate to shared parental leave, and includes the statutory right to unpaid leave that can be taken by a parent during the first five years of the child’s life. The age limit for the child will increase from five to 18 years from the 5th April 2015. Parents who have qualified based on duration of service will become entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave up to the child’s 18th birthday

  • Fit for work service

This year will see the new Fit for Work service introduced in England and Wales. The service intends to offer employers free occupational assistance when dealing with employees who have been off sick for four weeks or more.

More detail on flexible working: Flexible working

  • Statutory sick pay increases

The standard rate of statutory sick pay will increase on the 6th April 2015

  • Pensions auto-enrolment

Employers should seek advice on how to ensure their staff are enrolled on a suitable pension scheme.

The future of pensions: Pensions

  • The small business, enterprise and employment bill

This includes changes on the controversial zero-hours contracts, including a possible ban on exclusivity clauses.

Zero-hour contracts: Zero-hours contracts

Other changes include:

  • Improvement to the whistleblowing procedures

Solution to whistleblowing: Whistleblowing

  • Increase in penalties for employers who pay under the national minimum wage

Minimum wage: Minimum wage

  • Increases in Holiday pay

Holiday pay update: Holiday pay

We have also tried to forecast issues we think will strongly influence the workplace in 2015, including apprenticeships, digital skills and agile working. Below you will find links to articles covering these issues. We hope you find them useful.

Apprenticeships: http://www.avensure.com/industry-news/mastering-future-apprenticeships/
Digital skills: http://www.avensure.com/industry-news/wanted-digital-skills/
Agile working: http://www.avensure.com/industry-news/solution-agile-working/

If any of the issues raised in this article affect your business, please give us a call to discuss your options. We are happy to advise and find a solution that works for you and your business: 0800 912 7152

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