There are a number of changes to the law that came into effect yesterday which employers should be aware of.

  • Time off for ante-natal appointments: Qualifying employees will now have the right to take time off to accompany pregnant women with whom they have a “qualifying relationship” to up to two antenatal appointments. This right is available to a pregnant woman’s husband, civil partner or partner, the father or parent of a child and the intended parents in a surrogacy situation. There is no qualifying period for this right, and pay is at the employer’s discretion. The employer can refuse to allow the time off if it is reasonable to do so, but where refusal is unreasonable the employee will be entitled to twice their hourly rate of pay for the period in which they should have been absent. There will be protection from detriment and unfair dismissal in the same way as for other parental rights. Further details can be found here.
  • Equal Pay Audits: The Tribunal has power to order an employer found to be in breach of equal pay legislation to carry out an equal pay audit. This only applies to successful claims that were presented on or after 1 October 2014.
  • Whistleblowing: The list of prescribed persons to whom a protected disclosure may be made has changed. MPs have been added to the list.
  • Reservists: There are two changes in this area. First, an employee will no longer need two years’ service in order to claim unfair dismissal if the reason (or main reason) for dismissal is “connected with” their membership of a reserve force. Secondly, organisations may be entitled to additional monthly payments from the government, which are intended to cover administrative and incidental costs associated with the reservist’s absence. An additional £500 may be claimed where the reservist was working full-time for at least 35 hours per week and is absent for a complete month (pro-rated in other cases). Similar payments are also available where the reservist is a partner in a business.
  • National Minimum Wage: The annual increase in the NMW takes effect from today, increasing the over 21 rate to £6.50, the 18-20 rate to £5.13 and the under 18 rate to £3.79. The new apprentice rate is £2.73. The maximum daily accommodation offset has been raised to £5.08.

For any queries on any of the above, please contact a member of the Employment team.

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Lucy McLynn


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Posted on 02/10/2014 in Legal Updates

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