April Changes and news

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By way of reminder we have summarised below employment related changes which have taken effect this month.

  1. Shared Parental Leave

The Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Shared Parental Pay (SPP) provisions apply to eligible parents of children due to be born (including through surrogacy arrangements) or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015. The aim of SPL is to enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how they share time off work to look after their child. As a result, additional paternity leave was removed and replaced by SPL.

We have produced two free webinars on SPL, which we hope you will find helpful:

  1. The practical effects of the SPL regulations
  2. Common questions on SPL and tips on how to address difficult issues

If you have any further queries on SPL, please feel free to contact us.

  1. Adoption Leave

The requirement for 26 weeks’ service before employees become entitled to adoption leave has been removed from 5 April 2015. The changes provide a new right for both single and joint adopters to attend adoption appointments together. Statutory Adoption Pay is payable to the primary adopter at an enhanced rate of 90% of their average earnings for the first 6 weeks of adoption leave. This brings adoption pay in line with Statutory Maternity Pay.

  1. Unpaid Parental Leave

From 5 April 2015 the right to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave was extended to parents of children under 18. Previously the right to unpaid parental leave only applied to parents of children under 5, unless the child was disabled

  1. Fostering Rights

Fostering rights change as the Provisions of the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2014 come into force. Individuals fostering a child under the “Fostering for Adoption” scheme run by local authorities now have enhanced rights in relation to fostering leave. This change brings fostering leave in line with adoption leave.

  1. Adopting a Child From Outside the UK

The Shared Parental Leave and Paternity and Adoption Leave (Adoptions from Overseas) Regulations 2014 and the Statutory Shared Parental Pay (Adoption from Overseas) Regulations 2014 came into force on 5 April 2015. These aim to include couples who are adopting a child from outside the UK in the right to SPL and SPP.

  1. Increased Rates and Limits for 2015/16

New compensation limits came into force from 6 April 2015 and apply where the relevant date complained of (for example, the dismissal or detriment) falls on or after 6 April 2015. The new limits are as follows:

  • The limit on “a week’s pay” for the purpose of calculating statutory redundancy payments and basic awards for unfair dismissal claims increased from £464 to £475.
  • The maximum basic award for unfair dismissal tribunal claims/statutory redundancy payments rose from £13,920 to £14,250.
  • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal tribunal claims increased from £76,574 to £78,335. The maximum award is the lower of £78,335 or 52 weeks’ pay.

Statutory Sick Pay has increased from £87.55 to £88.45 per week from 6 April 2015 along with Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay (Ordinary and Additional) which increased to £139.58 per week from 5 April 2015.

  1. Compulsory Pay Gap Reporting

Compulsory reporting on the gap in pay between male and female employees is to be implemented within 12 months of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill coming into force. There has been no indication of when this may be at the time of writing or how the provisions will be framed. The power to require larger employers to report on their gender pay gap is already set out in section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 but has never been implemented. This compulsory reporting is applicable to businesses with over 250 employees. More is expected on this after the General Election.

  1. Holiday Pay

In light of the recent ET decision in the Lock v British Gas case (confirming commission should be a consideration in relation to the European Working Time Directive element of holiday pay) we have updated our Q&A document which can be found here.

For further information, help or advice please contact Tim Davies on 0191 211 792 or tim[email protected]