Respecting the law: employment law changes in 2015


This week’s offering from me is something of a departure from my usual contributions covering legal case studies or tech-briefs. Instead my intention is to share with you an overview of employment law changes coming up in 2015.

This year we will see a number of big changes to the law and, consequently, your employee’s statutory rights. These changes include:

  • Shared Parental Leave
  • Statutory adoption leave and pay
  • Child’s age limit for parental leave raises to 18
  • The right to take time off to attend adoption appointments

Where possible I’ve attached links to relevant hr24 beside each point to help you explore the changes in more detail.

In summary, I would say that, although some of the changes may seem unrelated to you – such as if your employees are not planning to adopt – it is important you remember to update your employment handbooks to include the latest developments.

One change I expect to be a hot potato this year is Shared Parental Leave. In a nutshell, this change will allow both male and female employees to ‘share’ maternity leave, rather than the traditional continuous maternity leave taken by the mother. It is not mandatory that employers agree to discontinuous leave for one of their employees, yet they are expected to provide a ‘robust’ reason for not agreeing to the request, and, if possible, put forward a suitable modification of the original request. If this fails, then employers must agree to the standard continuous maternity leave period.

Many employers may struggle to come to grips with this new change and their business may suffer as a result, due to poor organisation and employee frustrations. My advice is to act before this issue lands on your desk and begin planning for changes, including professional advice from trained legal experts.